Nik's Commodore Keys – Auburn

The biggest game in Vanderbilt football history takes place at Vanderbilt Stadium on Saturday. The 19th ranked Commodores of Vanderbilt (4-0, 2-0 SEC) take on the 13th ranked Tigers of Auburn (4-1, 2-1 SEC) in a promising Southeastern Conference matchup. Complete with a prime-time ESPN audience, as well as the site for ESPN's College GameDay, this matchup promises excitement.

What do the Dores have to do to conquer and prevail?

Defense, Defense, Defense

Vanderbilt has got to make defense a priority in this matchup.  Auburn has struggled on offense this year to say the least.  The offense was responsible for a meager seven points against Tennessee in last week's 14-12 victory over the Vols.  Auburn has yet to find a quarterback, although Chris Todd will start for the Tigers.  Kodi Burns has also been in at quarterback, especially for running the football.  Both have struggled in the passing department, and neither has been particularly impressive in the running department.  Auburn does have a decent ground game, with running back Ben Tate.  He is a solid back that Vanderbilt's defensive line, led by Steven Stone and Broderick Stewart must shut down.  Ryan Hamilton and D.J. Moore will be vital in air defense this week.

4th Quarter

Vandy must get this game into the fourth quarter, and cannot fall behind early.  The Commodores have done surprisingly well in the second half this year, and they need that to continue.  If Vanderbilt can get the game into the fourth quarter, especially with Auburn's lack of offense, they should win this game.  Vanderbilt is a threat to score on offense, led by tailback Jared Hawkins, special teams, and defense.  D.J. Moore has provided long interception, punt, and kickoff returns, and Ryan Hamilton was named National Defensive Player of the Week after the Ole Miss game, when he picked off three Jevan Snead passes, including taking one all the way for a touchdown.  Vanderbilt also blocked a South Carolina field goal, and John Stokes's recovery set them up in good field position for the score.  Regardless of how Vandy scores, they must get the game into the fourth quarter to beat this Auburn team. 

Air it Out

Chris Nickson will be vital this week.  With wide-out George Smith back for the first time this year, Vanderbilt needs to air it out more against a very good Auburn defense.  Nickson cannot afford to make many mistakes, and needs to be spectacular, as Auburn will likely be trying to slow down the Commodore rushing attack.  Nickson needs to also make use of his legs, and get some tough yards on the ground.  His performance is important for a win against the Tigers.


Last Meeting: Auburn 35 Vanderbilt 7 (2007 in Auburn)

First Meeting: Auburn 30 Vanderbilt 10 (1893)

Last Meeting in Nashville: Auburn 45 Vanderbilt 7

Auburn leads all-time series 20-19-1 with Vanderbilt holding a 10-7 lead in Nashville.  Vanderbilt last beat the Tigers in the 1955 Gator Bowl (Jacksonville, FL) by a score of 25-13. Top Stories