Now the real season begins. Western Carolina was a nice game, but it was just a middle of the pack FCS team (stupid NCAA). Now, we have to play a team that seems to have been focusing on playing Alabama all off-season long. Lucky for us bloggers, they did play a game last weekend, so we can analyze the statistics.
The Vanderbilt defense gave up a net total of 310 yards to Richmond (149 rushing, 161 passing). The Vanderbilt offense put up 446 yards (162 rushing, 284 passing). A notable stat is how Earl Bennett had 223 yards, 3 TDs receiving… which is impressive (even against Richmond).
There were some interesting patterns from the game when you analyze what the Richmond offense attempted:
Pass Completions over 25 yards: 1 for 30 yards (avg. of 30 yards)
Pass Completions 10-25 yards: 5 for 73 yards (avg. of 14 yards)
the rest were obviously for less than 10 yards. When it comes to running the ball, Richmond had a respectable amount of success as well:
Attempts to the Left: 12 for 68 yards (avg. of 5 yards)
Attempts up the Middle: 15 for 46 yards (avg. of 3 yards)
Attempts to the Right: 7 for 39 yards (avg. of 5 yards)
Richmond scored 17 points (1 kick return for TD, one field goal, and one Touchdown run set up by a 60+ yard punt return)
Now, let’s seen how Vanderbilt’s offense performed
Pass Completions over 25 yards: 5 for 200 yards (avg. of 40 yards)
Pass Completions 10-25 yards: 2 for 31 yards (avg. of 15 yards)
Impressive when it comes to the longer passes. Of course, Earl Bennett can take credit for most of that. How did the ground game perform?
Attempts to the Left: 15 for 90 yards (avg. of 6 yards)
Attempts up the Middle: 11 for 44 yards (avg. of 4 yards)
Attempts to the Right: 9 for 36 yards (avg. of 4 yards)
While this isn’t as thorough as other bloggers, it does provide us with an idea of what to expect the next game. Vanderbilt did give up a big punt return, but they also had a 90+ return themselves for a Touchdown. They will play us tough, they always have.
But, the question remains: can Vanderbilt beat Alabama for the first time on the field in Nashville since 1969? (they have 1993, but that was a forfeit). Will Alabama’s defense step up? Can the offense continue to produce? Will it come down to a Field Goal, causing the Alabama nation to have a panic attack? We’ll just have to wait and see.