Massachusetts (0-7) at Vanderbilt (3-4)|
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, October 27, 7:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Dudley Field (40,550) -- Nashville, Tennessee.
Television: FSN, NESN. Home Record: UMass 0-4, Vanderbilt 2-2. Away Record:
UMass 0-3, Vanderbilt 1-2. Neutral Record: UMass 0-0, Vanderbilt 0-0.
Conference Record: UMass 0-4, Vanderbilt 2-3. Series Record: First-ever
GAME NOTES: Still in search of their first win as a member of the FBS, the
Massachusetts Minutemen head to Nashville for a Saturday night, non-conference
bout with the Vanderbilt Commodores.
UMass's first season as a member of the Mid-American Conference has not been a
good one as it has lost all seven games, with five of those losses coming by
24 points or more, including a 24-0 defeat at the hands of league foe Bowling
Green last week. The Minutemen have been shutout twice and they have lost 10
in a row dating back to last year.
Vanderbilt has had an up-and-down campaign, and although it has suffered some
tough defeats in the brutal SEC, it has come through with victories in games
it was supposed to win (58-0 verses Presbyterian, 19-15 at Missouri, 17-13
versus Auburn). The Commodores will try for back-to-back wins for the first
time since Sept. of 2011.
This bout marks the first-ever meeting between these two programs on the
The UMass offense has yet to catch up to the higher level of competition, as
it puts up just 268.6 ypg and ranks last in the FBS in scoring (11.9 ppg).
Mike Wegzyn threw all four of his touchdown passes this season a few weeks
back in a game versus Ohio University, but otherwise he has found next to no
success under center, completing less than 51 percent of his passes for 149.3
passing ypg and six interceptions. A.J. Doyle has also seen action, but he too
has played poorly (14-of-30, 102 yards, three INTs).
Deion Walker (34 receptions, 424 yards, TD) has proven to be a reliable target
for Wegzyn, and Alan Williams (19 receptions, 205 yards, three TDs) has been a
factor in the red zone.
Michael Cox is the team's lead back, but his production has been rather
pedestrian with 111 carries for 437 yards and three touchdowns. As a team, the
Minutemen average just 3.0 yards per rush attempt.
While the offense has certainly struggled, the defense has also done little to
impress (40.7 ppg, 468.1 ypg).
The increased volume of work has made Perry McIntyre one of the top tacklers
in the nation (77 tackles, 3.5 TFL). Darren Thellen (44 tackles) has two
interceptions, but as a team UMass has created only eight takeaways in seven
Playing a difficult schedule in the SEC means that offense is at a premium
week in and week out for Vanderbilt (20 ppg, 368 ppg). It tends to struggle in
the red zone, scoring touchdowns on just 10-of-26 visits inside the opponent's
The catalyst for the offense is without question running back Zac Stacy, who,
with 169 yards against Auburn last week became the program's all-time leading
rusher with 2,670 yards. Stacy also set the single-season school record in
rushing in 2011 (1,193 yards), and with a strong stretch run he has a chance
at breaking that mark this season (668 yards). With 25 career touchdowns, he
also needs just two scores to claim that record.
Jordan Rodgers has thrown for more than 200 ypg and has limited his mistakes
(two INTs), but he's only thrown three touchdown passes.
All three scoring strikes have landed in the hands of Jordan Matthews, who is
tied for first in the SEC in catches (46) and second in receiving yards (663).
Chris Boyd (25 receptions, 482 yards) has emerged as a solid deep threat, but
he has yet to find the end zone.
The Commodores' defense has held its own against some of the best teams in
the nation, allowing 21 ppg and 331.7 ypg, but they haven't been active in the
turnover battle, recording just two interceptions and three fumble recoveries.
With 45 tackles for loss and 15 sacks, the squad does a nice job penetrating
the line of scrimmage. Chase Garnham leads the team with five sacks.
Simply put, UMass has yet to prove that it can even be competitive on the
road, let alone be good enough to win. Vandy has had its share of troubles
this season, but winning this non-conference bout should be no problem.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Vanderbilt 41, Massachusetts 10
10/24 10:33:49 ET