The Vanderbilt Commodores take on No. 1 Alabama on Saturday at Vanderbilt Stadium. Here are your three keys to beating the Crimson Tide.
1) SLOW DOWN JALEN HURTS
Last week I wrote of putting the "Hurt on Ertz" and clarified that I didn't want him injured, just his performance to hurt. That key was not a "pass" as Ertz played really well for Kansas State. This week Vandy gets a more dual-threat quarterback in Jalen Hurts. Someone mentioned a phenomenal stat that Hurts had been responsible for 46 or so TDs since coming to Bama (He's a sophomore now). Hurts can hurt you by both passing and running. These are the kind of QBs that traditionally have given Vandy fits. The Commodores barely survived Ertz last week. Hopefully, they can at least slow down Hurts.
2) VANDY HAS A BALANCED OFFENSIVE ATTACK
Vanderbilt has one of the top running back corps in the SEc yet the Commodores are only getting about 100 yards per game out of their runners. Meanwhile, Kyle Shurmur and company are gaining 243 yards a contest through the air. No one is saying that gained passing and running yards have got to be identical but it would be nice if the 'Dores could get a little more out of their running game. Woody Hayes once said something like, "Three things can happen when you pass and two ain't good." Like Vandy's defense, Alabama's D is good at making those two bad things happen.
3) SOLID SPECIAL TEAMS
We haven't noticed it much because Vandy is 3-0 but our special teams have lacked in some areas. Yes, we've had blocked kicks and done some good things but hopefully, we are due some made field goals and booming punts. Vandy let a victory slip away a couple years back with a shanked punt late in the game at Florida. Alabama is a team that will make you hurt if you make a mistake. The Tide's defense and special team score a lot of points. It would be sickening to miss out on a chance for a win over a No. 1 team because of an errant punt, field goal or blunder in the kick return game.
Saturday's game kicks off at 2:30 pm CT and can be seen on CBS.