Georgia Bulldogs (3-3, 1-5 ATS) at Vanderbilt Commodores (2-4, 1-3-1 ATS)
Dudley Field Nashville, T.N. Saturday October 17th, 12:21PM Eastern
By Jay Horne of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Georgia -7.5/Vanderbilt +7.5
One year ago the Vanderbilt Commodores had a surprise season in the SEC that started with a 5-0 start and ended with their first bowl win in 53 years. Coach Bobby Johnson appeared to be turning the program around. However a year later, the Commodores have fallen back into the pits of the SEC East with a 2-4 record and 0-3 mark in the conference. The Commodores were big favorites on the road last week, but unexpectedly fell to Army 16-13. Vanderbilt now returns home to meet with the Georgia Bulldogs who were blown out by Tennessee last week and are also in surprising danger. The Bulldogs look to rebound after a big road loss 45-19 to the Volunteers and avoid dropping under the .500 mark on the season.
The game seems to be a must win situation for both teams. Vanderbilt’s schedule is about to get very tough as they will play 3 Top 25 opponents following this week’s match-up with the Bulldogs. One of the main problems for the Commodores has been their inability to move the football. Vanderbilt ranks 87th in total offense averaging just 335 yards per game. The Commodores have been even worse in terms of scoring offense ranking outside the Top 100 averaging just 18 points per contest. Despite the Commodores strong defense, the offense has just not had near enough success to score any victories within the conference this season. QB Larry Smith has really struggled this season throwing an interception in each of the last 5 games. Smith has thrown just 2 touchdowns opposed to 6 picks on the season for just 702 yards in charge of one of the worse passing offenses in America.
The lone bright spot of the Commodores offense has come from their two freshman tailbacks Warren Norman and Zac Stacy. Norman and Stacy have equally shared time carrying the ball exactly 65 times a piece. Norman leads the team with 398 yards and 3 scores while Stacy has posted 282 yards. Norman has been the biggest playmaker turning in more big plays with 6.1 yards per carry average and the Commodores rushing attack has averaged over 189 yards per game. These two talented freshmen will try and help rack up some points against a Georgia defense that ranks dead last in scoring allowing 30.7 points per game.
The Bulldogs perhaps are not near as good as their 13th ranking during the preseason because they have consistently disappointing including a 1-5 ATS mark on the season. The problem is not simple to diagnose. Both the offense and defense rank outside the Top 75. The Bulldogs have struggled to score points and as said before have given up more points than anyone in the SEC. However, the Georgia rush defense has been pretty strong as they are talented up front. The Bulldogs biggest challenge this weekend will be keeping the Commodores running backs from breaking open plays’ considering that is only way Vanderbilt has been able to move the chains.
On offense Georgia quarterback Joe Cox leads the team under center. Cox got off to a strong start this season, but has now thrown 5 picks in just the last 3 games and 8 total on the season. The Bulldogs quarterback is completing just 58% passing, but does have a total of 11 touchdowns despite the high volume of interceptions. The main recipient for the majority of those touchdown passes has been WR A.J Green. Green is making his name known as one of the best receivers in the country catching 38 passes for 587 yards along with 5 scores this season. The Vanderbilt defense ranks 2nd in the country this season, but they will face a huge challenge to contain Green this Saturday as he is known for making big plays.
Jay’s Pick - Vanderbilt has only beaten Georgia 4 times in 45 meetings between the two schools and only twice in the last 15 years despite playing each other every season. The Bulldogs big loss last week puts things back in prospective and will keep them from any upset this week. Take Georgia -7.5.