2. KEYS TO THE SEASON
Biggest Key To The Vanderbilt Offense
Score whenever there’s a chance. The skill parts are there, and the line will be more than okay with a little bit of time. But the defense is going to need a whole lot of work – get ready for a few shootouts early one. Last season, the Commodores lost four games by a touchdown or less, finishing the season scoring on just 76% of their chances inside the 20. They failed in the red zone against Missouri, and lost by five and were 0-for-2 against Kentucky in the 14-7 loss.
Biggest Key To The Vanderbilt Defense
Third … down … stops. The lack of a consistent pass rush led to a maddening problem of simply not being able to get off the field. The Vandy D allowed teams to convert 46% on third downs, allowing offenses to hit half of their chances or more seven times and lost four of those. By comparison, the 2017 defense gave up third downs 37% of the time in 2017.
Key Player To A Successful Season
QB Riley Neal, Sr.
Mo Hasan, and Deuce Wallace are good enough to get a shot if Neal isn’t fantastic, but there’s a reason the grad transfer from Ball State picked the Commodores. He’s a big, smart, accurate passer who has had injury issues, but he also didn’t get the pass protection he’ll enjoy with the Commodores. The rest of the offense will be good, and if Neal is better than just okay, blowing past the 300-point mark again is possible.
Key Game To The Vanderbilt Season
at Ole Miss, Oct. 5
For a team that’s going to need a little while to get the parts together on offense, starting the SEC season with Georgia and LSU is a big, big problem. With Missouri up next in conference play after facing Ole Miss, Vandy has to be ready for shootouts, and it has to be good enough to get by the Rebels in Oxford for the first time since 2012. Lose, and a winless SEC season isn’t out of the question.
– Vanderbilt Schedule Breakdown & Analysis
2018 Vanderbilt Fun Stats
– Vanderbilt 1st Quarter Scoring: 66 – Vanderbilt 2nd Quarter Scoring: 103
– Third Down Conversions: Opponents 83-of-182 (46%) – Vanderbilt 60-of-163 (37%)
– Penalties: opponents 86 for 732 yards – Vanderbilt 72 for 568 yards