What: Vanderbilt (2-4, 0-3) at #14 Georgia (5-1, 2-1)
Where: Sanford Stadium, Athens, GA
When: Saturday, October 14, 2006, 12:30 p.m.
TV: Lincoln Financial (Dave Neal, Dave Rowe, and Dave Baker)
Georgia coming off a tough home loss to the Volunteers, the Bulldogs will look to rebound against the Commodores Saturday. Georgia has won the last 11 meetings, which ties the Georgia-Vanderbilt series record for the longest winning streak. Vanderbilt has not won a conference game since the last game of the 2005 season when they beat Tennessee in Knoxville.
Here is how the two teams matchup on both sides of the ball.
GEORGIA OFFENSE vs. VANDERBILT DEFENSE
The Georgia offense had their best half of football of the season last week against Tennessee putting up 17 points on the Volunteers.
Quarterback Joe Tereshinski was seven of nine passing for 127 yards and a touchdown at halftime. Tereshinski struggled with turnovers in the second half of the Tennessee game, so Georgia will need to cut down the turnover margin this week. Georgia's turnover margin is minus two so far this season which is 73rd in Division I-A.
Georgia ran the ball extremely well against Tennessee and they have been very successful this season running the ball against every opponent except Colorado. Georgia will look to Thomas Brown (181 yards and 1 TD) and Kregg Lumpkin (347 yards and 2 TDs) to continue their solid play from last week and move the ball against Vanderbilt who is susceptible to a strong running attack.
One key for the Georgia offense may be their not so secret weapon fullback Brannan Southerland. Southerland scored twice in the Tennessee game and now has six touchdowns on the season. He has run the ball well and been an excellent receiver out of the backfield where he has the third most catches on the team this season with eight.
Each week Southerland has become more involved in the offense and it will be interesting to see how the Commodores adjust to the big and agile fullback.
Vanderbilt has a very good defense led by junior linebacker Jonathan Goff who has 50 total tackles through six games. The Commodore defense is ranked 40th in Division I-A in total defense allowing just 302.8 yards per game. Their defense is 32nd in the nation in scoring defense allowing just 16.8 points per game.
The toughest job for the Georgia offense will be passing on the Vanderbilt defense.
Strong safety Reshard Langford is one of the best in the conference and he has three interceptions already this season.
The Commodores have the 12th best pass defense in Division I-A and they allow only 154.3 yards per game in the air.
The Georgia receiving core led by A.J. Bryant (10 catches 147 yards) and Mohamed Massaquoi (8 catches 126 yards) will need another strong performance this week catching the ball. The receivers improved their performance dramatically last week and the Georgia coaching staff will need a similar performance to diversify the Georgia offense.
GEORGIA DEFENSE vs. VANDERBILT OFFENSE
The dominating Georgia defense had a hard time with Tennessee's passing and rushing attack last week. They gave up 44 points to the Tennessee offense. Georgia's scoring defense dropped from first to 17th in Division I-A football following the game.
The Bulldog defense has still put up some impressive numbers and they are allowing only 258.3 yards per game this season.
Vanderbilt's offense is built around all-purpose quarterback Chris Nickson who has 728 yards passing and 285 yards rushing this season with ten total touchdowns.
The Commodores average 32.5 rushing attempts per game and only 24.8 passing attempts. Vanderbilt prefers to run the ball and their rushing attack is ranked second in the SEC.
The Georgia rush defense led by linebacker Jarvis Jackson has allowed only 102.5 yards per game and only 3 yards per carry. Georgia will try to stuff the run and force Nickson to throw the football.
Georgia will rotate eight different players on the defensive line including emerging star defensive end Charles Johnson (3.5 sacks) and preseason All-American defensive end Quentin Moses (1 sack 17 quarterback pressures).
Looking at the Commodore passing attack, sophomore wide receiver Earl Bennett is their main target in the air. Bennett has the third most catches in the SEC with 33 this season and he has 464 yards receiving and two touchdowns.
Georgia will look to junior cornerback Paul Oliver and redshirt sophomore Ramarcus Brown to shut Bennett down. Oliver has one interception this season and 24 total tackles.
If Georgia can shutdown Bennett then they can use safeties Tra Battle and Kelin Johnson in run support and Vanderbilt will have a tough time moving the ball.
SYNOPSIS: Following a tough 33-51 home loss to Tennessee, the Bulldogs will look reclaim their status as one of the elite defensive teams in the country. Vanderbilt has two excellent offensive players, but that is probably not enough against a good Georgia defense. If Georgia can capitalize on the new offensive confidence they found in the first half of the Tennessee game, the Bulldogs should be able to run and pass the ball with success Saturday.
PREDICTION: Georgia has won 11 straight over Vanderbilt and they have not lost a homecoming game since 1994. Vanderbilt has a good defense, but they will have tough time scoring on Georgia. Vanderbilt will put up a good fight, but Georgia will prevail 24-7 Saturday afternoon.