Published September 19, 2012 - 1:32pm
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The Matchup: Vanderbilt at #5 Georgia
When: Saturday, September 22nd
Where: Athens, Georgia
Game Time: 7:45 PM ET
What you need to know about Vanderbilt: The Commodores have not started the way they have wanted at 1-2. They lost a tough one to South Carolina and lost the very next week against Northwestern on the road.
The slow start caused James Franklin to change quarterbacks from Jordan Rodgers to Austyn Carta-Samuels last week against Presbyterian. Carta-Samuels threw for 195 yards and one touchdown in the blowout. However, the bigger issue is the running game. Zac Stacy got off to a really slow start for the Commodores, only rushing for 84 yards in the first two weeks. He had a much better week with 174 yards and one touchdown Saturday, but the Commodores will have to run it against Georgia. Freshman Brian Kimbrow has been coming on strong lately and rushed for 137 yards last week. He’s a changeup to bigger Stacy and needs more touches. This is a nice little one-two punch if things progress.
The Dores have two very good receivers in Jordan Matthews and Chris Boyd but haven’t been successful getting them the football yet. The two have only combined for two touchdowns.
The Commodores are third in total defense in the SEC and first in pass defense. If you’ll remember last year, the secondary was very good, too. They match up okay with Georgia on the backend, but they haven’t seen a quarterback like Aaron Murray yet. Defensive back Trey Wilson had a 100-yard pick-six last week against Presbyterian.
What you need to know about Georgia: The Bulldogs look like the team to beat in the East. They have the best front seven in the SEC, led by OLB Jarvis Jones. Jones sat out last week with a groin injury, but he said he would play this week.
Georgia’s offense is very balanced, led by quarterback Aaron Murray and freshman running back Todd Gurley. Murray has thrown for 842 yards and eight touchdowns, and Gurley has rushed for 276 yards and four touchdowns, averaging 9.9 yards per carry.
Georgia’s defense has gotten off to slow starts in their first three games. Georgia is in the middle of the pack in total defense right now. Buffalo, FAU and Missouri have scored a total of 63 points. On paper, this is a dominant defense, but teams have been moving the football against them. It’s early, and things will be corrected.
What you need to watch: This was a great football game last season, with Georgia winning 33-28, and Todd Grantham and James Franklin about threw down at midfield. It’s crucial that the Commodores start fast with a balanced offense. Buffalo’s quarterback was able to move the football on the ground, so Vandy may want to have the quarterback run it 10-15 times.
Georgia needs to give Todd Gurley more touches on offense. He is so dynamic in so many ways, but it’s almost like the coaching staff doesn’t want to get him hurt or overload him as a freshman. I understand that and appreciate that, but he needs 15-20 touches this weekend on offense, not including returning kicks. Gurley is a game changer.
Vanderbilt’s defense is really going to have to step up and force Aaron Murray to turn it over. The Commodores can’t outscore the Bulldogs on offense, and they will need to get a defensive score at the very least. Murray has been prone to throw interceptions in the past, and the Dores’ defense will try and force his hand this weekend.