Outside The Obvious, What Vanderbilt Needs To Win This Week
It's never easy to go on the road and win a college football game, especially when you're facing a Power 5 opponent. Such is the task at hand later today for the Vanderbilt Commodores as the face the Purdue Boilermakers at Ross-Ade Stadium.
Both teams enter today's contest looking for their first win of the season following opening week losses to Georgia and Nevada respectively.
Both teams need a win to get their season back on the right track and gain momentum as they move further into their season.
There's the obvious keys to winning a game like not turning the ball over and limiting penalties, but we've singled out three keys for the Commodores to leave Indiana with a win.
O-Line Improvement, Run, Run, Run
Vanderbilt's offensive line struggled at times last week, in part because of the opponent, and in part because of injuries, youth and players in new positions.
Regardless of who starts up front this week, this unit must take a dramatic leap forward if the Commodores are to win.
Quarterback Riley Neal was efficient in short passes last week, but he must be given time to push the football down the field too. Facing the Purdue defense should help some as they are not nearly as strong as Georgia, but still capable of causing problems and making plays if the o-line struggles once again.
Developing a running game early could help build confidence in the line and take pressure off Neal.
In short, run, run, run early to set up the pass.
Big Three Big
Ke'Shawn Vaughn, Kalija Lipscomb and Jared Pinkney are the three biggest playmakers on this Vanderbilt team. They were limited last week but must step forward and play at the level they are capable of reaching.
Vaughn ran hard and fought for yards last week but was held far below the level needed for for Vandy to be successful.
Pinkney will most likely draw the attention of the Purdue defense and face more double teams, still he must be able to win some plays against them and also when he faces man coverage.
Lipscomb will see some double teams and must step up and win in spite of being double teamed. He too should be able to win one-on-one situations.
Those three being "The Big Three" is a must for a win.
Rondale Moore is as dynamic a playmaker as you will find in the country, and he is the top threat in the Boilermakers offense.
Last week the talented sophmore was the recipent of 11 passes from quarterback Elijiah Sindelar. Those 11 eleven receptions were good for 124 yards and a touchdown for the Boilers in their loss at Nevada.
Keeping Moore in check and limiting his run after catch and big plays are more than a key, they are a must for the Commodores defense.
A positive for the Dores defense is their improvement from one half to the next last week against team with more weapons that Purdue will field.
Vanderbilt won't be intimidated but Moore or his mates, but take them for granted and it will be a long afternoon in the Hoosier state.