Boy, if you want a stark example of welcome to the SEC, peeps, check out Bill Connelly’s percentile performance for the Commodores:
- MTSU: 92%
- Alabama A&M: 91%
- Kansas State: 63%
- Alabama: 7%
- Florida: 17%
Oof. Vandy’s offense also earned the dreaded NULL against Alabama, which I assume is Bill’s way of saying, “sorry, percentile performance doesn’t do negative numbers”.
Those last two games have driven VU’s defensive stats from the top of the SEC to the middle of the pack. In conference play, Vanderbilt ranks next to last in total defense and twelfth in scoring defense.
That’s not the worst of it, however. Vanderbilt’s ginormous problem on Saturday is that its biggest weakness, an anemic rushing game, is pitted against one of Georgia’s strengths, a run defense that’s holding opponents (including Notre Dame and Mississippi State, the seventh- and fifteenth-ranked teams in rushing offense) under 100 yards per game. Ralph Webb’s season may be the SEC’s biggest mystery this year and I don’t see that being cleared up this weekend.
So while I don’t think Kirby Smart is blowing Dooley-esque long snappah smoke when he calls Kyle Shurmur “the best pure passing quarterback that we have played against”, it seems inevitable that Shurmur is going to have to succeed against the odds of piloting a one-dimensional offensive attack. That’s not a place you want to be when your offense has been sputtering for three games now.
Obviously, given last year’s results, this isn’t a game Georgia can take for granted. Assuming the Dawgs’ mindset is right, though, things look pretty daunting for the anchor down crew.