Georgia and Vanderbilt meet for the 76th time Saturday in Nashville. This also will serve as the first conference game for the SEC this season. The Bulldogs were impressive in their opener against Louisiana-Monroe, rushing for 243 yards and racking up 51 points before a lightning delay caused the game to be called off early.
New quarterback Greyson Lambert made his first start against the Warhawks. Lambert threw for 141 yards and wasn't overly impressive, but he didn't do anything to play himself out of the starting spot either. The real story, as expected, was in the running game. Nick Chubb and Keith Marshall each ran for a pair of touchdowns.
Vanderbilt wasn't as exciting to watch in week one. The Commodores fell 14-12 to Western Kentucky at home. The performance wasn't as abysmal as last year's 30-point home blowout loss to Temple, but Vandy still has a ton of work to do on offense. Their defense appears to be improved with head coach Derek Mason calling the shots.
Hopefully for the Commodores, there has been a dramatic improvement offensively this week in practice because they will be in serious trouble if they can't put points on the board against Georgia. The 'Dawgs are explosive on offense. Georgia leads the series all-time against Vanderbilt 54-19-2 but the Commodores won the last meeting in Nashville.
Georgia at Vanderbilt
Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. ET (Saturday)
TV Channel: CBS
Spread: Georgia -20.5
Three Things to Watch
1. Can Vanderbilt's offense muster enough points to keep up?
The biggest storyline for Vandy last season was their inability to get anything going on offense. So far, they haven't had much luck this year either. Georgia is going to put points up. Even with the Commodores' defense playing well thus far it will be an immense challenge for them to stop the 'Dawgs' running attack. To keep pace in the game, Vanderbilt must get the ball to Ralph Webb and rely on their offensive line to keep the ball away from Georgia. If the Commodores can score a couple early touchdowns it will boost their confidence against a tough opponent.
2. Georgia's offensive line vs. Vanderbilt's defensive line
The Bulldogs possess one of the SEC's most experienced units up front. Aside from Arkansas, they probably have the most talented offensive line in the conference. But while Vanderbilt has a lot of problems with most of its position groups, the defensive line is solid. Caleb Azubike had three tackles in the loss to the Hilltoppers and Jay Woods, Nifae Lealao and Adam Butler are all as talented as any of the SEC's more well-known defensive linemen. If the Commodores have any edge in this game it will be on the line of scrimmage.
3. How many yards will Chubb rush for?
Speaking of Georgia's offensive line, it must be comforting to know if you miss a block you have arguably the best running back in the country to make moves behind you. Chubb has rushed for over 100 yards in nine consecutive games. That is an astounding feat. It is no secret that Georgia may be one-dimensional on offense, but with Chubb in the backfield it is going to be hard for anyone in the SEC East to mount a lot of success on defense. The Commodores are improved defensively, without question, but can they stop Chubb?
I'm a true believer that the Commodores are going to improve as the year goes along. They won't be as bad in year two under Mason, but this just isn't a good time of the year for them to get a shot at Georgia. The 'Dawgs are too good at running the football. Add in the fact that Vanderbilt still hasn't shown any signs of life on offense and they are going up against one of the SEC's most lethal defenses and you get the recipe for a blowout in Nashville.