HEAD TO HEAD: VANDERBILT VS. UAB

James Franklin

Vanderbilt hosts UAB on Saturday. VandyMania.com's D.T. Yates compares the two teams in several critical areas. We also make a prediction on the game's final score.

VANDERBILT PASSING OFFENSE
VS.
UAB PASSING DEFENSE
EDGE: VANDERBILT
REMARKS: Austyn Carta-Samuels has completed 60.7 percent of pass attempts for 889 yards passing, with six touchdowns and four interceptions. Jordan Matthews leads the Commodore offense averaging eight receptions per game. The senior receiver is currently fourth in the country with 480 yards receiving and three touchdowns.

Senior receiver Jonathan Krause had the first touchdown reception of his career last week against Massachusetts. Krause had six receptions for a team high 105 yards receiving. True freshman Jordan Cunningham is third on the team with seven receptions for 67 yards receiving.

Senior running back Wesley Tate has five receptions for 58 yards receiving and a score. Redshirt sophomore Steven Scheu has four receptions for 54 yards receiving and one touchdown. The Commodores are tied for 57th in the country with Ole Miss averaging 240 passing yards per game.

True freshman Greg Maclin will get his second start of the season at free safety for the Blazers. UAB is tied for 96th in the country, allowing opponents 268.7 yards passing per game. Next to Maclin is strong safety Calvin Jones who has started two games and tallied nine tackles.

Junior cornerback Jimmy Jean has the team's sole interception this season, along with five tackles, and one pass defended. Opposite Jean is senior cornerback Cortez Webb who has started one game this season tallying seven tackles. Sophomore Lamarcus Farmer leads the secondary with 13 tackles, including two for a loss, with a forced fumble.

VANDERBILT RUSHING OFFENSE
VS.
UAB RUSHING DEFENSE
EDGE: EVEN
REMARKS: The Commodore rushing attack will be manned by Wesley Tate and redshirt sophomore Jerron Seymour. Tate leads the team with 46 carries for 191 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Seymour leads the running backs averaging 5.1 yards per carry with four touchdowns.

Vanderbilt quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels averages 15.8 yards rushing per game and has three rushing scores this season. The Commodores average 145.5 rushing yards per game ranking 82nd in the nation.

Redshirt senior Wesley Johnson leads the Vanderbilt offensive line playing in 98.7 percent of the team's snaps over the last three years. Johnson, an All-SEC candidate has played in four offensive line positions as well as tight end.

Sophomore outside linebacker Jake Ganus leads the Blazers with 25 tackles, including two for a loss, and a forced fumble. Ganus made ten starts as a true freshman in 2012. Sophomore Destin Challenger has started all three games for UAB at linebacker and is second on the team with 15 tackles, and one quarterback hurry.

Senior defensive tackle Deric Scott leads the defensive line with 12 tackles, including one for a loss, a quarterback hurry, and a forced fumble. Sophomore defensive end Chris Rabb has tallied 10 tackles, including one for a loss. UAB ranks 66th in the country with opponents averaging 160 yards rushing per game. The Blazers held LSU to 152 yards rushing in their second game of the season.

UAB PASSING OFFENSE
VS.
VANDERBILT PASSING DEFENSE
EDGE: VANDERBILT
REMARKS: Sophomore quarterback Austin Brown leads the Blazers completing 38 for 73 pass attempts for 596 yards passing, six touchdowns, and one interception. Brown started seven of the final eight games of the 2012 season for UAB. The Blazer offense ranks 69th in the country averaging 229 yards passing per game.

Junior receiver Jamarcus Nelson leads the Blazer receiving corps with 16 receptions for 301 yards receiving and four touchdowns. True freshman receiver Jamari Staples is no slouch averaging 18.9 yards per reception, with nine catches and two touchdowns. Junior tight end Kennard Backman is third on the team with eight receptions for 104 yards receiving and on touchdown.

Senior cornerback Andre Hal is another Vanderbilt All-SEC candidate. Hal has tallied 20 tackles, including 1½ for a loss, and a team high five passes defended. Senior Steven Clarke mans the other cornerback position and has the 'Dores lone interception returned 69 yards to set up a score against South Carolina.

Senior free safety Kenny Ladler leads the team with 30 tackles, including 20 solo stops, and one pass defended. Strong safety Javon Marshall is second on the team with 26 tackles. The Commodore secondary ranks 56th in the country allowing opponents 211.3 yards passing per game.

UAB RUSHING OFFENSE
VS.
VANDERBILT RUSHING DEFENSE
EDGE: UAB
REMARKS: Junior running back Darrin Reaves leads the Blazers averaging 6.9 yards per carry with three touchdowns. Reaves averaged 10.5 yards per rush last week in the Blazers 52-28 victory over Northwestern State, and averages 122 yards rushing per game. True freshman Jordan Howard is second on the team with 26 carries for 126 yards rushing and a touchdown.

Offensive tackle Kaycee Ike leads the offensive line with 15 consecutive starts on the Blazers' offensive line. Senior center Billy Autrey is second among the offensive line with six straight starts. The UAB rushing offense that averages 170 yards rushing per game ranking 71st in the country.

With the exception of senior outside linebacker Karl Butler the Vanderbilt linebacker corps is fairly young. Darreon Herring leads the group and is third on the team with 25 tackles, a sack, and four passes defended. Middle linebacker Jake Sealand is also a sophomore and ranking fifth on the team with 19 tackles.

The Commodore rushing defense is tied for 60th in the country with MTSU allowing opponents 152.5 rushing yards per game. Redshirt freshman defensive tackle Adam Butler has been a pleasant surprise with 13 tackles, including two for a loss, and a forced fumble.

Redshirt junior Kyle Woestmann leads the defensive line with 17 tackles, including 2½ for a loss, and two sacks. Sophomore defensive end Caleb Azubike is closely trailing behind with 14 tackles, including a team high four for a loss, and two sacks.

SPECIAL TEAMS
EDGE: EVEN
REMARKS: Taylor Hudson ranks 12th in the nation averaging 45.31 yards per punt. Hudson has five punts of 50 yards or more, including a season long 75-yard punt. The redshirt sophomore has pinned opponents inside their 20-yard line in eight of his 16 punts this year.

Senior place kicker Carey Spear has made three of four field goal attempts with a season long kick of 54 yards against South Carolina that had plenty of room.

Senior receiver Jonathan Krause averages 6.1 yards per punt return after returning a punt for a season long 18 yards against UMass last week.

True freshman Darrius Sims has handled kick returns for the 'Dores, averaging 22.4 yards per return, with a season long return of 42 yards.

UAB place kicker Ty Long has hit three for six field goal attempts with a season long of 50 yards in the opener against Troy.

Junior punter Hunter Mullins has a season long punt of 53 yards while averaging 39.4 yards per punt. Mullins has pinned opponents inside their 20-yard line four times this season.

Junior receiver Jamarcus Nelson returned one kickoff for 97 yards and a touchdown and averages 35.4 yards per return. Nelson handles punt return duties for the Blazers and returned a punt 63 yards for a score last week.

INTANGIBLES
EDGE: VANDERBILT
REMARKS: The Commodores are 42 percent in third-down conversion attempts this season but have made 86 percent of their fourth-down conversion attempts. Vanderbilt is fairly balanced with 140 rushing attempts to 115 passing attempts.

This is the first of a three game home series for the 'Dores that includes Missouri, and a bye week before a visit from Georgia. Vanderbilt is looking for its sixth straight regular season win against a non-Southeastern Conference opponent.

The Blazers have converted 28 percent of third-down conversion attempts and are 57 percent on fourth downs. UAB slightly favors the run with 107 rushing attempts to 87 passing attempts on offense. Junior receiver and return specialist Jamarcus Nelson is dangerous whenever he gets the ball and has averaged 19.5 yards per reception over his career at UAB.

The Blazers and Commodores met once before in 1996 when Vanderbilt beat the blazers 31-15.

COACHING
EDGE: VANDERBILT
REMARKS: The Commodores are 9-1 in regular season games against non- SEC teams since Vanderbilt coach James Franklin arrived. Vanderbilt was one of nine schools in the FBS subdivision that returned its entire coaching staff from 2012.

Franklin's win total of 15 after his first two seasons at Vanderbilt is the most by a second-year Commodore coach since 1904. The 9-4 record in 2012 tied the school record for wins dating back to World War I. The Vanderbilt coach has proven that the 'Dores can hang tough and compete in the SEC with his contagious personality and a close attention to detail.

Blazer head coach Garrick McGee is has brought an excellent offensive foundation to UAB. After scoring 25 offensive touchdowns in the year prior to his arrival, the Blazers scored 40 offensive touchdowns in his first season in 2012. McGee is 4-11 overall with the Blazers.

In his first season as coach McGee registered the third-highest total of offensive yards in Blazer history with a 3-9 overall record and 2-6 record in the Conference USA. The Blazers had to replace a total of four coaches, including a running backs coach, tight ends coach, defensive line coach, and cornerbacks coach.

PREDICTION: Vanderbilt 31, UAB 20

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