David Bowie would be proud of the Commodores, who have managed to put pressure on the opposing quarterbacks, especially on Chris Todd and Kodi Burns against Auburn. Mississippi State has unresolved issues at quarterback. Wesley Carroll was benched against LSU, and walk-on Tyson Lee has taken over the reins of the offense. Vanderbilt must pressure the young Lee, who has only one collegiate start, but was a Junior College All-American. Sackmasters Broderick Stewart, Steven Stone, and Chris Marve must get Lee under pressure and make the Bulldogs one dimensional.
Turn em on over
Mississippi State has struggled to hold on to the football this year. They have thrown six interceptions, although all of them were by now benched Wesley Carroll. They committed five turnovers in their season-opening loss at Louisiana Tech. Vanderbilt is first in the nation in turnover margin, and Vanderbilt could win big if they force Mississippi State's sputtering offense to give them the ball. Vandy must take the football away from Mississippi State to win this game.
Vanderbilt is 12th in the SEC in total offense. However, the Commodores are putting up points, largely due to strong special teams and defense. In their last two games, against Georgia Tech and LSU, State has given up 72 points and 927 yards. Vanderbilt must move the football and take advantage of a suspect defense in order to win this ballgame. Jared Hawkins struggled against Auburn, but the passing game looked solid for the first time this season as Mackenzie Adams filled in for the injured Chris Nickson and threw for 153 yards and two touchdowns without throwing an interception. Jeff Jennings has had a horrible start to his year, and needs a good game to rebound. The quarterbacks have been good at running the ball; Chris Nickson has run for 310 yards and Adams for 85. Vandy must move the ball and do something that they have done very well this year…convert in the redzone. The Dores have a very manageable situation to start out 6-0, but it won't be easy, and they will need to lower their shoulders and push through for the extra yard to keep their top 25 ranking and perfect record.
Last Meeting: Vanderbilt 31 Mississippi State 13 (2004 in Nashville)
First Meeting: Vanderbilt 61 Mississippi State 0
Last Meeting in Starkville: Mississippi State 30 Vanderbilt 21
Mississippi State leads all-time series 10-7-2