Vanderbilt clashes with Ole Miss on Thursday night in Nashville. Look inside for info about game…
Three Keys - Vanderbilt vs. Ole Miss
1) Get after Bo Wallace early
This offense runs through Bo Wallace, and instead of sitting back and letting the game come to them the 'Dores defense should concentrate on getting to Wallace and hitting him early. In the game last year Wallace threw for 403 yards and had one of his best games of the season against a 'Dores defense which was not used to giving away that much through the air. Since that contest Wallace has had off season shoulder surgery, and though he is fully recovered he has not had the amount of work that most quarterbacks in the country have been able to get through. Vandy should blitz with regularity and keep switching up their defensive looks early to keep Bo off balance, hopefully forcing him into making a costly mistake our two while the game is in its infancy.
2) Don't ask too much from Carta-Samuels
For Vandy to win this game Austyn Carta-Samuels is going to have to be efficient without being careless. This will be the Wyoming transfer's first significant action under center since 2010 and there are bound to be some nerves and jitters along the way. The suspension of Chris Boyd certainly doesn't help matters, so it is going to be up to the running backs to make their mark and churn up the yards to give Carta-Samuels an easier time of it. If the Vandy ground game fails to get going and the quarterback is asked to complete a bunch of third-and-8s or longer, then it is going to be tough for Vanderbilt to win the clash.
3) Win the special teams and coaching battle
In a game where the two teams look fairly even it is often other factors coming into play which decide the outcome of the contest. Firstly, Franklin is going to have to be completely on his game to out coach Hugh Freeze and give the 'Dores their best chance of winning. Secondly, special teams could also be important. Ole Miss had one of the worst return units in the country last year, returning punts at only 5.6 yards per clip and kickoffs at just 20 (82nd in nation). The focus should be on shutting down any big returns and winning the field position war. That will set up short fields for Jordan Matthews, Wesley Tate, and Brian Kimbrow to do their thing.
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