Three Keys: Vanderbilt at Georgia

Jarvis Jones

Through three games in 2012 it is hard to pin down exactly what to expect from this Vanderbilt Commodore football team. With a couple of breaks here and there the 'Dores could be 3-0 without even having played that well. Instead Vandy is a dangerous 1-2 squad who will be looking to take down their first ranked opponent since 2008 on Saturday in Athens.

Through three games in 2012 it is hard to pin down exactly what to expect from this Vanderbilt Commodore football team. With a couple of breaks here and there the 'Dores could be 3-0 without even having played that well. Instead Vandy is a dangerous 1-2 squad who will be looking to take down their first ranked opponent since 2008 on Saturday in Athens. Here are some keys that will help power the black and gold to victory.

1) Believe in the quarterback

It is widely expected at this point that Austyn Carta-Samuels will get the start on Saturday after he led the Commodores to 605 total yards against the Blue Hose. Carta-Samuels did nothing exceptional last weekend, he was 13 of 20 for 195 yards and a score, but the coaches liked his decision making and command of the offense. Much will still rely on the running game and creating holes for Zac Stacy to exploit, but Carta-Samuels has earned the nod from James Franklin and now it is time to prove he deserved it.

One thing Vandy fans will be hoping for is that once a decision is made it is stuck to. There is nothing worse than seeing a rotating quarterback situation from week to week, and it is even worse when the rotation is series to series. If Carta-Samuels is the guy run with him, if Jordan Matthews is the guy run with him. Quarterbacks need stability, and an upset of the Bulldogs can only occur if whoever is the signal caller is confident he can make a mistake or two.

2) Nullify Jarvis Jones

Much like the South Carolina defense that Vandy faced in week 1, Georgia has a host of weapons who will be hunting down the quarterback this week. The primary defender which the Vandy coaching staff will be game planning to neutralize is linebacker Jarvis Jones. Jones was rested last weekend to heal up a groin injury, but he is expected to be back on the field and 100% against the Commodores. For an example of how dominant Jones can be you need only look back to the Georgia-Missouri game two weeks ago. Jones had two sacks, two forced fumbles, and an interception, single-handedly changing the game. For the 'Dores to have a chance he has to be kept quiet on Saturday.

3) Use the emotion from last year wisely

When Mark Richt and James Franklin met at the end of the game last season I doubt either thought that the incident would still be on the minds of media, players, and fans a year later. This series has been so one sided (Georgia have won 16 of the last 17) that it has often been seen as nothing more than a slight speed bump in the Bulldogs season. You get the feeling though that the 'Dores would love to turn this into a real rivalry and to do that they need to start picking up wins over Georgia. If Vandy can take the emotion from the defeat last year and use it in their favor (i.e. no stupid penalties) then this could be the year that the series becomes much more interesting for both teams.

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