Game 10 of 12 – Vandy @ Georgia

Mark Richt

With the countdown to kickoff getting ever closer it is time to take an early look at each game on the Vandy schedule in 2012. Instead of taking the game chronologically (no one has any creativity any more) we are going to look at the games in order of their prominence. It is time for the 10th most prominent game on the Vandy schedule, the October 27th clash at Georgia.

Prominence Level

This game may seem very low on the prominence scale but you have to take into account what Vanderbilt is shooting for this year. The Commodores goal in 2012 is simple. They want to make it to, and win, a bowl game. With the way that the SEC schedule has been set, there are a number of games in which Vandy will be slight underdogs or slight favorites. These are the games they will need to win in order to make it to a Bowl game, and therefore a game like this (on the road against a heavily favored opponent) is automatically less prominent.

Vandy's Keys to Winning

Let's make no bones about this from the outset; it is going to be very difficult for the Commodores to take down the Bulldogs in Athens. Georgia has been ranked as high as sixth in the country (ESPN) this preseason and Mark Richt's charges feel they have unfinished business which might take them all the way to the SEC title game in 2012. If Vandy is able to get close to taking down the Bulldogs it is going to take an almighty effort.

One time tested way an underdog can take down a superior opponent is by doing all the little things right and making a momentum changing play at the right time. As good as the Bulldogs were last year the team had one glaring weakness, special teams. The kickoff and punt coverage units in particular were the teams Achilles heel, being ranked 112th and 88th in the country in their respective disciplines. If the Commodores can manufacture two or three deep returns and control field position it represents their best route to taking down Georgia.

How Vandy Could Lose

Georgia's defense was dominating in 2011, and it could be even more so this year. The Bulldogs defensive line is in the discussion for the best in the nation in large (and I mean LARGE) part due to the sheer size of their two top defensive linemen. The Bulldogs run a 3-4 defense which features either the 6-3, 351 pound Jonathan Jenkins or the 6-6, 351 pound Kwame Gethers at the nose tackle position; both of whom are ready to eat up double teams and destroy ball carriers.

If Gethers and Jenkins can control the line and take the running game away then Vandy will become one dimensional against a potentially dominating secondary.

What Will Happen

Vandy may be able to play this close but Georgia will just have too much down the stretch. The Bulldogs have been something of a ‘what if?' team during much of the Mark Richt reign, but this is the year they will put it together consistently and make the SEC Title Game.

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