VANDERBILT (2-3, 1-1) at GEORGIA (2-4, 1-3)
11:21 a.m. (CDT), Saturday
Sanford Stadium, Athens, Ga.
TV: SEC-TV (WUXP-TV Ch. 30)/ Radio: WRQQ-FM 97.1
About the Commodores:
• Cornerback Casey Hayward is halfway to the school’s single-season interception record with four, which already is tied for the fifth-most at any time in the past 30 years. He has had one in each of the last four games.
• Quarterback Larry Smith is third in rushing yards with 141 among the conference’s top 10 in total offense – all of whom are quarterbacks. He’s also the only one of that group who has not thrown for at least 800 yards.
• They have been called for more penalties than their opponents in every game this season. They average 6.8 penalties per game for an average of 57.8 yards lost. Their opponents average just 26 penalty yards against, the lowest for any SEC team.
• Coach Robbie Caldwell already has as many wins this season as two of the three coaches who preceded him had in their first years. Bobby Johnson was 2-10 in 2002, and Rod Dowhower was 2-9 in 1995.
About the Bulldogs:
• Quarterback Aaron Murray is tied for first in the conference with seven more touchdown passes (10) than interceptions (three). His interception total also is tied for the fewest among the conference’s top 10 passers.
• Murray is the only freshman among the SEC’s top 10 in total offense and passing efficiency. The other nine in each case are all seniors and juniors.
• They average 6.5 penalties per game for an averge of 44.8 yards lost. Their opponents average 34.5 penalty yards against, the second-lowest for any SEC team.
• Coach Mark Richt already has more losses this season than in six of his previous nine seasons. Since the start of last season his record is 10-9 but is fifth among all active coaches with a .748 winning percentage.
Something to consider:
• Georgia has more touchdowns in red zone possessions (14) than Vanderbilt has red zone possessions (a league-low 13) at this point in the season. The Bulldogs have gotten points on 22 of 24 total trips inside the 20 (91.7 percent).
• Vanderbilt is winless this season (0-3) when it has been behind at the end of the first quarter.
• The last time these teams met in Athens both were ranked. The 22nd-ranked Commodores lost 24-14, the second of four straight defeats and six of the final seven in the regular season. The Bulldogs went 4-2 the rest of the way.
Oddly, Vanderbilt probably has more to play for than Georgia in that the Commodores still are alive in the race for the SEC Eastern Division title. The Bulldogs on the other hand are playing for pride and bowl eligibility at this point.
With that in mind, expect VU to play hard and inspired and to keep it close through the first half. Eventually, though, one or more of Georgia’s playmakers, most likely A.J. Green, is going to do something to break open the contest and the final score will look worse than the game actually was.
Georgia 30, Vanderbilt 13