The Commodores have to find a way to rebound from one of the ugliest defeats in years as they went down 56-0 at the hands of Florida. Next up is a Kentucky team also struggling in 2019.
By Steve Wright
Here are the three keys:
Don’t let Kentucky control the clock
This is an interesting part of the game. The Wildcats lost last week despite holding the ball for 41 minutes because the passing game accounted for just 25 total yards. This wasn’t good enough against Tennessee, but it might be all that the team needs against Vanderbilt. The Commodores cannot throw the ball downfield and they have failed to complete more than 55% of their passes over the last five weeks.
Kentucky will want to get QB Lynn Bowden going as a runner to take time off of the clock and shorten the game. They want Vanderbilt to make mistakes in the passing game and get off of the field. The key for Vandy is to limit short possessions. The Commodores cannot have too many three-and-outs if they want to still be in this one late.
Attack the Kentucky passing game
The Kentucky passing game hasn’t gone over 100 yards in the last five games with just one touchdown through the air in that span. The blueprint to beat Kentucky is simple this season and it basically means taking away the running ability of Bowden and making him throw the ball. The Vandy D has to be tough on first and second down and make Kentucky find ways to make plays on third-and-long. That is a down and distance this team – and this QB – is not at all comfortable playing in.
Win the turnover battle
This game is going to be a grind. It is not going to be one to trouble the scoreboard operator as it is going to be low scoring and – more than likely – pretty ugly to watch at times. There are no real bonuses for style points in a game like this though, so the Commodores can get away with winning ugly. Their best route to winning this game is going to be through turning Kentucky over. Be that picking off a pass, or – more likely – knocking the ball out of Bowden’s hands when he is running, the defense has to step up and make a play or two here.