Nik's Commodore Keys – Georgia Tech

Following a heartbreaking 14-10 loss at South Carolina, the Vanderbilt Commodores (2-6, 0-5 SEC) face a must win situation. If the Dores drop any more games from this point on, they will be officially eliminated from any possibility of postseason play. For the Dores to defeat the 11th ranked Yellow Jackets of Georgia Tech (7-1, 5-1 ACC), they must address several problems…and fast.

Time of Posession

Georgia Tech is one of the best in the country in this department, while Vanderbilt is one of the worst, ranking 117th out of the 119 FBS programs.  Georgia Tech holds the ball for nearly 35 minutes per game – almost 10 minutes more than the Commodores' average.  Vanderbilt faces another triple-option team in Georgia Tech, but a much more talented one than Vanderbilt saw in their 16-13 overtime loss to Army.  Georgia Tech also converts 52% of their third down conversions.  For Vanderbilt to have a chance against the Yellow Jackets, the time of possession needs to be close.  This puts increased pressure on Larry Smith and his receivers who have looked somewhat better the last couple of weeks.  Then, freshman tailback sensation Warren Norman must push his way through a Georgia Tech defense that has been giving up nearly 24 points per game.  Vanderbilt must piece together its offense, and hope that its solid defense, particularly the defensive front led by the now healthy Steven Stone and Broderick Stewart can handle the Georgia Tech option attack.  Middle linebacker Chris Marve must also help to stop this dangerous running attack.

No Big Returns

Longtime Vandy fans know that special teams is always an adventure with their Commodores.  This year, freshman kicker Ryan Fowler is off to a solid start, and Warren Norman has already returned multiple kickoffs for touchdowns this year.  Though these players have been solid, the kickoff and punt coverage has not always been so stellar.  Georgia Tech  is averaging 20 yards per punt return.  Brett Upson has been excellent, particularly last week against South Carolina, but, though he is averaging over 42 yards per punt, the Commodores are giving up nearly 9 yards per return.  This could spell disaster if the Commodores do not figure out a way to stop a potentially deadly Georgia Tech return game.


Georgia Tech leads the overall series 18-15-3.  Vanderbilt head coach Bobby Johnson is no stranger to Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson; Bobby Johnson is 2-6 against Paul Johnson, going back to their days in the Southern Conference together.  Bobby Johnson is 0-2 against Georgia Tech.

First Meeting: Vanderbilt 35 Georgia Tech 0 (1892)

Last Meeting: Georgia Tech 24 Vanderbilt 17 (2004 in Nashville) 

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