Head to head: Vanderbilt vs. Georgia Tech

Next up for Vanderbilt is Georgia Tech. VandyMania.com compares different critical team areas of Vanderbilt and Georgia Tech and indicates which team has the edge.

VANDERBILT
EDGE
AREA
Georgia Tech
EDGE
COMMENTS
EVEN  
Vanderbilt rushing offense
vs.
Georgia Tech rushing defense
EVEN  
Georgia native Warren Norman headlines the Vanderbilt rushing attack. As bad as the season has been for Vandy's offense, the Commodore running game has been decent. Vanderbilt gains about 175 yards per game which is better than 82 other FBS teams. Norman averages 67 yards rushing per game. He's had two games of over 100 yards rushing despite never getting more than 15 carries other than in the opener against Western Carolina when he had 18 carries. Tailback Zac Stacy was the starter when the season began but he's been slowed with an ankle injury and didn't play in the 14-10 loss to USC last week. Quarterback Larry Smith, who has 178 yards rushing this season, is also a run threat. Georgia Tech has a solid rushing defense allowing about 127 yards a game on average. Linebacker Brad Jefferson leads Tech in tackles with 50 including four for losses. He had two forced fumbles against Mississippi State.  
EVEN  
Vanderbilt passing offense
vs.
Georgia Tech passing defense
EVEN  
This is the stinker match-up of the game. Vandy's passing offense continues to struggle (only 9 FBS teams are worse) although they showed some signs of life last week against South Carolina. The staff added some shuffle and screen pass plays that helped quarterback Larry Smith gain some confidence although the shuffle passes didn't work too well. Wide receiver John Cole, who has 23 receptions on the season, is Smith's top target. Georgia Tech's pass defense is rated 75th nationally but when you look at pass efficiency defense they go down to 105th. The Jackets have given up 16 touchdown passes on the season but have only intercepted eight passes. By contrast, Vanderbilt's pass defense has given up eight touchdown passes and intercepted nine passes. Defensive back Morgan Burnett is a diamond in the rough for the Tech pass defense. He has an impressive four interceptions already this season. Defensive end Derrick Morgan leads the team in sacks with five.  
 
Georgia Tech rushing offense
vs.
Vanderbilt rushing defense
 
Georgia Tech has the nation's second best (292 ypg) rushing attack, behind Nevada. They run the triple option that their head coach Paul Johnson was also successful with at Navy. B-back or fullback Jonathan Dwyer leads the Yellow Jackets in rushing with 90 yards per game. He had 158 yards earlier in the season against North Carolina and 125 versus Virginia last week. Quarterback Josh Nesbitt is the team's second leading rusher with 88 yards per game. He had a season high of 140 at Florida State a few weeks ago. A-back or tailback Anthony Allen picks up about 59 yards per contest. He had 122 against Clemson several games back. Vanderbilt's run defense is 85th best in the nation but showed some improvement against South Carolina last week. Linebacker Chris Marve and Patrick Benoist lead the Vandy rushing defense. The duo averages about 17 tackles a game combined.  
 
Georgia Tech passing offense
vs.
Vanderbilt passing defense
 
Georgia Tech prefers to run and their passing attack is ranked 116th out of 120 teams. However, if an opponent concentrates too much on their running game they will throw the ball. When Paul Johnson was at Navy a few years back he beat Vanderbilt with just a few passes when the Commodores focused too much on the option. Nesbitt had 266 yards passing at Mississippi State on October 3rd when the Bulldogs focused on the run too much. Wide receiver Demaryius Thomas leads the Yellow Jackets in receptions with 30 so far this season. Vandy's secondary is led by highly regarded cornerback Myron Lewis and fellow corner Casey Hayward.  
EVEN
Special Teams
EVEN  
Vanderbilt kicker Ryan Fowler is 9-of-14 on field goals this season. His longest kick went for 41 yards. Georgia Tech kicker Scott Blair is 8-of-12 and his longest kick traveled 36 yards. Brett Upson has a 43 yard punt average for Vandy while Chandler Anderson sports a 41 yard average for GT. Both teams have dangerous return units. Tech is No. 2 in the nation in punt returns with Jerrard Tarrant averaging almost 20 yards per return. Vandy's Norman has two kickoff returns for touchdowns including a 99 yarder last week at South Carolina.  
 
Coaching
 
Vanderbilt's Bobby Johnson led the Commodores to their first bowl win in over 50 years. Georgia Tech's Paul Johnson has been almost an instant success everywhere he has coached. He has Tech ranked 11th in just his second year in Atlanta. Paul has a 4-2 career record versus Bobby.  
EVEN  
Intangibles
EVEN  
It's a home game for Vanderbilt but most of the Commodores biggest wins over the past few years have been on the road. Tech could be due a letdown after a big win over Virginia last week. Vanderbilt's coming off a game last week that they thought they should have won and it's uncertain how that will affect the team this week.  


PREDICTION: Georgia Tech 24, Vanderbilt 7

VandyMania.com Top Stories