Vanderbilt will need to jump on the Vols early in this game. When a team is not playing for anything, the best way to take them out of the game is to take an early lead. If the Black and Gold can put a couple of touchdowns on the board early it will cause the Volunteer players to lose interest, but if Tennessee jumps out to an early lead it will get them excited about the chance they have to throw a wrench in Vandy's season.
While Tennessee has struggled on offense this season, they are still very good on defense. They have a very good secondary that is led by sophomore safety Eric Berry. Berry has seven interceptions on the season. He averages 36.7 yards per interception return and has returned one for a touchdown. Chris Nickson will need to take care of the ball. The only way the Tennessee offense is going to score a bunch of points is if their defense can get some turnovers and give them a short field.
The Commodore defense will match-up really well against the Vols offense. Jonathan Crompton is set to start at quarterback for the Volunteers in this game, and he has struggled all season long. Crompton is completing just over 50 percent of his passes and has thrown 4 interceptions to just 3 touchdown passes. The Dores defense will need to take advantage of the Crompton's inconsistency and make a big play to set up an easy scoring chance.
There is a good chance that Tennessee will give redshirt freshman quarterback B. J. Coleman some snaps in this game. Coleman had an impressive showing in a scrimmage against Hargrave Military Academy going 21 of 32 for 325 yards. Granted that is not against a Southeastern Conference defense, but the reports on Coleman are that he has a strong arm and is mobile enough to move around in the pocket and make plays. The Dores will have to be ready to make the proper adjustments when he comes into the game.
Tennessee does have some very talented running backs. They have not lived up to their hype this season, but they are still dangerous. It appears they will be without Arian Foster because of a deep thigh bruise, but Lennon Creer and Montario Hardesty are both capable of making some big plays. The Vanderbilt front seven will need to make sure they get these guys on the ground when they have the chance to limit their yards after contact.
Special teams will be another big key to this game. In a game like this that should be low scoring, field position can make all of the difference. The Commodores will need Brett Upson to continue his strong punting from this season and a big return from D.J. Moore.
Vanderbilt will be the better team when these two take the field on Saturday. If the Commodores can take care of the ball and play solid special teams they should be able to come away from this game with their win number 7.