Comparison: Vanderbilt versus Miami University and WCU

Since we only have a week of football under our belts, the only thing we can do right now for comparison's sake is look at what teams did last year versus what they did this year. So with that in mind, let's take a look at how Vanderbilt did against Miami University last year and Western Carolina this year.

I don't mean to suggest that Miami and WCU are on the same level, because Miami is a better team all around. Vanderbilt simply didn't play a I-AA team last year, and Miami was Vanderbilt's worst opponent. That's why I chose it as the comparison point.

As with previous comparisons, sack yardage has been taken out of the rushing totals.

OFFENSE

CATEGORY VS. MIAMI VS. WCU
Total Yards 371 626
Passing 91 187
Yds. per Pass 5.7 7.5
Rushing 280 439
Yds. Per Rush 5.8 6.4
Turnovers 2 1
Time of Poss. 32:43 34:44
Sacks All. 2 (-11 yards) 1 (-6 yards)

 

If any of you had Vanderbilt as the team that would run the most number of offensive plays over the weekend, take a bow. The Commodores' new hurry up offense resulted in 95 offensive plays run against the Catamounts. The per pass and per rush rates were up, as you would expect when you drop back to a I-AA opponent, but it was the blizzard of plays that helped Vandy come relatively close to doubling the yardage they got against Miami.

The improvement in passing is encouraging, especially when you look and see that Larry Smith personally threw for 8.5 yards a pass. That's notable considering that neither Chris Nickson nor Mackenzi Adams reached that rate against anyone in 2008 and they hit 8.5 yards per pass a combined five times over the past three seasons.

DEFENSE

CATEGORY VS. MIAMI VS. WCU
Total Yards 375 138
Passing 244 74
Yds. per Pass 5.8 2.8
Rushing 131 64
Yds. Per Rush 6.0 3.0
Turnovers 3 4
Time of Poss. 27:17 25:16
Sacks For 3 (-35 yards) 3 (-23 yards)

 

I don't really know enough about either Miami University or WCU to say how big an improvement this is for the Vanderbilt defense. What I can say is that Vanderbilt's defense was better in almost every way against WCU than Tennessee's was against WKU. I doubt we can draw too many conclusions from that, other than that Vandy's defense is going to be very good again.

It's always tough judging things from games against I-AA opponents, but Vanderbilt's game against WCU went about as well as could be expected. Smith went down in the second half, but it turned out only to be stomach cramps. He'll be ready to go on Saturday against LSU in one of the more interesting games of the day.

Previous Comparison: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, South Carolina, Tennessee.

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