NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -Auburn prides itself on playing anorexic defense against the run. Vanderbilt's spread offense is much more about running the ball than throwing.
Something will have to give Saturday.
``They are really tough. They're big, and they're fast,'' Commodores quarterback Chris Nickson said of the 13th-ranked Tigers' defensive line.
``We're going to have to have a big game plan. Hopefully, we can get in the middle. If not, we'll find ways to get outside, but our running game won't change. We have very competent running backs, and we're going to put forth a strategy to get those guys to be successful.''
Tennessee.
The Tigers lead this series 20-19-1 and have won 13 straight dating back to the 1955 Gator Bowl. They thumped the Commodores 35-7 last year at Auburn, but Nickson warns that nobody should overlook Vanderbilt now.
``We have a lot of talent here,'' he said. ``We have a great strategy, a great coaching staff. We can do things. We don't make too many mistakes and come out and get in over our heads. I feel we can take advantage of anybody in the SEC or the nation.''
Thankfully, Vandy has the undefeated record to back up those bold words because the Commodores won't worry too many defenses with the statistics they've put up so far. They rank last in the SEC and 112th nationally in total offense with 282.8 yards per game and 116th nationally with a slim 80.8 yards passing.
But the Commodores' strength in their spread offense comes from the run. They hold the ball for 31 minutes, 4 seconds per game - 40th in the country. Jared Hawkins has run for 314 yards followed by Nickson with 270 yards and a team-high five touchdowns on the ground. They average 202 yards per game, which is third in the SEC and 26th nationally.
ensively over the last five games.''
That the Tigers surely do.
They are why Auburn has outscored opponents 62-9 in the first half and rank fifth in the SEC in scoring defense (10.6 points per game). But against the run they are allowing only 92.2 yards and just one touchdown rushing through five games.
Auburn defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks said they have studied the Commodores.
``We seen them running hard down hill, tough guys running the ball down hill. You got speed. You don't see too many white guys like that,'' Marks said of Hawkins, who has a long run of 40 yards. ``We know we got to contain him. We know he's hard-nosed. He really doesn't have any fear about anything.''
Vandy also takes good care of the ball. The Commodores have had only five turnovers and are among three teams nationally who haven't been intercepted. They also are tied with Pittsburgh for fewest penalties, are one of only three teams that have not been intercepted and lead in the SEC in both interceptions (10) and sacks (11).
Tuberville will be playing both Chris Todd and Kodi Burns after the Tigers rolled up only 226 yards offense against Tennessee.
.
The Tigers' biggest challenge will be quieting a sold-out crowd eager to see if the Commodores can make history and win their third straight SEC game for the first time since 1982 - the last time they had a winning season or went to a bowl. They've won three straight league games only seven times.
``People at Vanderbilt, they're excited they've got a good team this year,'' Auburn center Ryan Pugh said. ``We've seen them on film, and they're Vanderbilt, they play smart, they play fast, it's just another good SEC defense that you're going to play. But we've got to be prepared. They're definitely going to be a good football team.''

Recent NCAAF Discussions

ACC Conference Preview on Mon, Jul 2016 by Blade
Handicapping 2016 Win Totals on Mon, Jul 2016 by Blade
Big 12 Conference Betting Preview on Mon, Jul 2016 by Blade
2016 College Conference Previews on Sun, Jul 2016 by Blade
Advertisement

NCAAF Headlines

More inNCAAF News  

NCAAF Top Stories

Thumbnail Arkansas Season Win Total Prediction Few teams in college football ended the 2015 season with more momentum than the Arkansas Razorbacks. Now that the word is out, though,...
Thumbnail Iowa Win Total Prediction Following a Big Ten West Division Championship in 2015, can the Iowa Hawkeyes put together another big year in 2016?
Thumbnail Washington State Win Total Prediction After winning 10 games a year ago, will the Washington State Cougars build off their 2015 campaign or take a step back in 2016?
Thumbnail Oklahoma State Season Win Total Prediction Even in the pass-happy Big 12, a true contender for the conference championship must gain tough yards on the ground. That explains precisely where Oklahoma...
Thumbnail Wisconsin Win Total Prediction After a 10-win season in 2015, can the Wisconsin Badgers make a push for the Big Ten Championship in 2016?
More inNCAAF Articles  

NCAAF Team Pages