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Georgia vs. Vanderbilt 2017: Preview, prediction, how to watch & odds

Vandy took down Georgia last year in Athens.

NCAA Football: Georgia at Tennessee
Georgia QB Jake Fromm
Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Who: No. 5 Georgia Bulldogs vs. Vanderbilt Commodores

When: Saturday, October 7, 2017

Where: Vanderbilt Stadium, Nashville, Tn.

Time: 12:00 p.m. ET


Radio: Georgia Bulldogs Sports Network from IMG, Vanderbilt IMG Sports Network

How to watch online: WatchESPN

Odds: The Bulldogs are presently 17 ½-point favorites, via Odds Shark.

Who will start at quarterback for Georgia?

Since Jacob Eason went down with a knee injury in the season opener, true freshman Jake Fromm assumed the starting position and has led the Bulldogs to a 5-0 record. Eason is now healthy and returned to action in last week’s rout at Tennessee. So, will Georgia head coach Kirby Smart go back to his original starting quarterback, or stick with the hot hand?

Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason certainly believes he knows which way Smart is leaning, per Marc Weiszer of the Athens Banner-Herald.

Right now, I believe Fromm is the guy. I believe Eason is an extremely talented quarterback. That’s up to Kirby whom he decides to go with. I mean he’s not fooling me, if that’s what we’re doing here. That young man Fromm’s won ballgames. He just came off a 41-0 win.

Smart wasn’t amused.

Mason is right, Fromm will start, but expect Eason to continue getting snaps, too.

Can Ralph Webb get going?

Vanderbilt running back Ralph Webb entered the season 21st in SEC history in rushing yards. Unfortunately, through five weeks, Webb has rushed for just 198 yards on 75 attempts for an average of 2.6 yards per attempt.

Vandy as a team ranks No. 126 in the FBS in rushing offense. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs have the 11th-ranked run defense, allowing opponents a meager 2.8 yards per attempt. So, Webb has his work cut out for him this weekend.

The Commodores need to get the ball in Webb’s hands if it means involving him more in the passing game. He is, after all, averaging 26.8 yards per reception this fall, however, he has just four receptions. That needs to change.

Vandy’s defense vs. Chubb and Michel is the key matchup

The Commodores began the season 3-0 and in their first two games barely allowed a total of 100 yards rushing combined. However, in the three weeks since, Vanderbilt has allowed over 900 yards on the ground. Alabama ran for almost 500 yards two weeks ago.

Things aren’t going to be any easier for Vandy this weekend as Nick Chubb and Sony Michel come to town. Last season, the Commodores held UGa to just 75 yards on the ground and Chubb and Michel combined for just 68 yards on 29 attempts.

Don’t expect a repeat performance, but if it does happen, Vanderbilt has a chance.

So, what happens?

Once upon a time, this was a lopsided series. However, the Commodores have won two of the previous four meetings, including a 17-16 stunner in Athens last year.

Can they do it again?

Well, probably not. Georgia is a much different team this year and it starts on defense. The ‘Dawgs are loaded at all three levels on defense and are 2-0 in the SEC play thus far, outscoring opponents 72-3. Expect a similar outcome on Saturday afternoon in Nashville.

Prediction: Georgia 34, Vanderbilt 6