Georgia Bulldogs Game 5 Preview: Vanderbilt Commodores


It’s Homecoming in Athens, Ga. this week, as the No. 13 Georgia Bulldogs will take on the Vanderbilt Commodores between the hedges at Sanford Stadium.

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Date: 10/4/2014
Kickoff Time: 4:00 pm
Venue: Sanford Stadium – Athens, Ga.
Series Record: Georgia leads, 53–19–2
Last Meeting: November 16, 2013 – Vanderbilt 31, Georgia 27
Radio: Georgia Bulldog Sports Network from IMG;
TV: SEC Network
Internet Stream: GTV on

Latest Line: Georgia by 33.5

The Georgia Bulldogs (3-1, 1-1 SEC) continue with conference play against the usually dangerous Vanderbilt Commodores (1-4, 0-3 SEC).

Vandy is having a tough year under first-year coach Derek Mason, and have yet to win a conference game this season. Normally playing the Commodores at home wouldn’t be cause for concern, but if you are at all superstitious and care about stats like this, the last team to spoil a Homecoming for UGA was Vanderbilt in 2006.

Keys to the game:

The huge key to this game for the Bulldogs is simple.

Stay healthy.

The seemingly snakebitten Dawgs are starting to relive nightmares from 2013, with player after player going down (or out), particularly in the secondary where two more players — Rico Johnson (Medical DQ) and Sheldon Dawson (left team) — are out of the mix for Jeremy Pruitt’s defense.

This would be a game where just a victory will be enough. Let Hutson Mason manage the game, mix in the other quarterbacks to get some live game action, and just run the ball until Vanderbilt submits.

This will also be an opportunity for Mason to become acquainted with his two wide receivers, Malcolm Mitchell and Justin Scott Wesley. If Georgia does what they need to do, those two won’t be desperately needed, but can use this game to help do some fine tuning.

For Vandy it’s even simpler. If they can’t stop the run, there is no way they’ll win this game. And so far, stopping the run has not been the Commodores calling card.

Strengths and Weaknesses:

Vandy’s weakness is defense. Period.

They give up 161.40 rushing yards per game (69th in the nation), 254 passing yards per game (88th in the nation), and are 101st in the nation in scoring defense, giving up 34.8 points per game. That is pretty much failing in any way you can defensively.

Georgia is going to pound it and pound it hard, drawing more Commodore defenders into the line, and then Hutson Mason will be able to finally look downfield and find an open receiver rather than having to thread the needle constantly.

This game is a case where Georgia’s glaring weakness on pass defense probably won’t matter. Even this poor secondary will be able to make some plays against a Vanderbilt air attack that only nets 148 yards per game. The only pitfall is that if the secondary does shut down the Dores, they may gain a bit of unwarranted confidence.

At least they have pretty cheerleaders – Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Another Vandy weakness – turnovers. Georgia +4 in turnover margin while the Commodores are -6.  Georgia can control the line of scrimmage and the turnover battle, and in turn can dominate this game.

Georgia has to tighten up on special teams again, especially on kickoff coverage. The Dores have a dangerous return man.


Georgia will win this game, no question. A 33.5 point spread though? Not sure that the Dawgs will even want to cover that. This one will be a little too close for comfort…again. But that will work to Georgia’s advantage as they hit the road. Take the puppies by 14 over the Dores, and take a bottle of Tums to the game with you.