2011 Prediction & Game Story
Week 13, Vanderbilt at Wake Forest
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Nov. 26 Vanderbilt 41 … at Wake Forest 7
CFN Analysis: Bowl eligibility – James Franklin did it. It doesn’t matter that the SEC East stinks this year, and it doesn’t matter how it happened; the offense is starting to work, the defense has been solid, and the dominant win over a good Wake Forest team proved the Commodores belong in a bowl. This was a marvelous first-year coaching job. … Jordan Rodgers only completed 7-of-15 passes, but he ran for 90 yards and he didn’t turn the ball over. Zac Stacy had the most effective big game of his career with 184 yards and three scores. … Punter Richard Kent had a big game averaging 46.5 yards per shot and putting three of his four kicks inside the 20. … This is how you end a regular season. Vandy didn’t just win; it dominated its way into a bowl game.
What happened to the Wake Forest run defense? It wasn’t exactly a rock this year, but it went bye-bye against Vanderbilt with the defensive front not doing enough to slow down Zac Stacy. The Demon Deacons failed to come up with a sack and got a pathetic three tackles for loss. … The offense could never seem to find a groove because the defense kept getting marched on. Tanner Price didn’t have a great day throwing the ball, but Brandon Pendergrass was fine on the ground; the offense couldn’t move. … A bowl is all but set, but losing four of the last five games, and especially to clunk like this at home, is a huge step back considering the team looked so strong at the beginning of the year. Everything went south after the Florida State win.
(AP) WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Zac Stacy ran for 184 yards and three touchdowns and Vanderbilt became bowl eligible by beating sluggish Wake Forest 41-7 on Saturday night.
Quarterback Jordan Rodgers had 229 total yards for the Commodores (6-6). Rodgers, the younger brother of NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers, threw for 139 yards and one touchdown and ran for 90 more.
Stacy scored on runs of 1 and 20 yards in the second quarter as Vanderbilt built a 20-point halftime lead, then iced the win for Vanderbilt with his 40-yard TD run midway through the fourth quarter.
Larry Smith, the Commodores' former starting QB, also hit a 45-yard flanker option pass for a score, and Ryan Fowler made field goals of 33 and 30 yards, as Vanderbilt became bowl eligible for the first time since 2008.
Tanner Price threw for 157 yards and one touchdown before coming out of the game late in the fourth quarter for the Demon Deacons (6-6), who had their lowest-scoring game of the season.
Aided by Wake Forest mistakes, Vanderbilt drove into the Demon Deacons' red zone on its first two possessions but came away with only Fowler's field goals for a 6-0 lead in the first quarter.
Wake Forest finally got its offense going near the end of the first quarter. Price hit 4 of 5 passes on a 10-play, 75-yard drive, capped by a 10-yarder to Terence Davis in the back of the end zone for a 7-6 Demon Deacons lead with 12:44 left in the second quarter.
But the Commodores responded with three unanswered touchdowns in the second quarter to take a 27-7 halftime lead. Stacy had two of his touchdown runs, and Rodgers hit Brandon Barden on a 73-yard TD pass.
Catching Wake Forest in a safety blitz, Rodgers hit a wide-open Barden down the sideline. He hurdled one Demon Deacons defender and stiff-armed two others en route to scoring on Vanderbilt's longest TD pass play of the season.
The Commodores added to their lead in the second half on Dixon's flanker-option pass to Jordan Matthews with 4:17 left in the third quarter, and Stacy's 40-yard TD run with 9:04 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Vanderbilt (5-6) at Wake Forest (6-5) Nov. 26, 3:30, ESPNU
Here’s The Deal … Wake Forest became bowl-eligible with last week’s 31-10 victory over Maryland. Vanderbilt is hoping to join it. The Commodores came excruciatingly close to copping their sixth of the year, losing to in-state rival Tennessee in overtime. They actually held a lead in the final quarter, but couldn’t hold it, and lost on a 90-yard interception return by Volunteers CB Eric Gordon. Although head coach James Franklin has already laid a good foundation in his Nashville debut, a second postseason game in the last three decades would be a major development for the program.
It’s been a positive year for the Demon Deacons and head coach Jim Grobe, which won just three times in 2010, and hasn’t played in December in three years. While the record can be deceiving, Wake Forest darn near won the ACC Atlantic Division this season. It went a respectable 5-3 in league games, and came within one bad stretch in the fourth quarter from flooring Clemson two weeks ago.
Why Vanderbilt Might Win: The Commodores have a proven SEC defense that’s dotted with players who’ll continue their careers on Sundays. They rank 20th nationally at just 324 yards allowed a game, featuring all-star candidates at every level of the defense. From DE Tim Fugger and DT Rob Lohr up front to LB Chris Marve and CB Casey Hayward in the back seven, Vanderbilt is going to stand up the Demon Deacons with a lunch pail, blue-collar type demeanor.
The program’s last four losses, to Tennessee, Florida, Arkansas and Georgia, were by an average of only five points. In fact, other than Alabama, no one has come closer to derailing the third-ranked Razorbacks this fall than the ‘Dores.
Why Wake Forest Might Win: The Commodores may have the better defense in this one, but the Demon Deacons sport the more potent offense. Vandy has had problems sustaining and finishing drives all year, ranking 107th nationally on third-down conversions and 79th in red zone touchdowns. Oh, and the school hasn’t won a road game in well over a year. Wake Forest’s Tanner Price is the better quarterback in this game, throwing 19 touchdown passes to only six picks. And ACC-leading receiver Chris Givens occupy Hayward, allowing Michael Campanaro to make plays underneath. In a game that figures to be tight throughout, the Deacons have a better shot of converting during crunch time.
What To Watch Out For: Wake Forest’s biggest concern on defense will be containing WR Jordan Matthews and RB Zac Stacy, particularly the latter. Matthews is enjoying a breakout sophomore year as Jordan Rodgers’ favorite target, catching 27 balls for 526 yards and three scores over the last four games. However, Stacy is going to be a handful for a Demon Deacon D that’s giving up well over four yards a carry. When Stacy has gone for more than 100 yards, the Commodores are 3-1 this fall, with the lone loss coming against Arkansas by a field goal.
What Will Happen: It’s Wake Forest and Vanderbilt, so a nail-biter is pretty much prepackaged into the equation. Not only have the Demon Deacons won the last three in this matchup, but they’ve also survived four games decided by a touchdown or less this fall. The ‘Dores? Just one. Those trends will continue at BB&T Field, with Wake ending Vandy’s bowl bid in a heartbreaker.
Price will be the difference-maker, guiding the Deacons to the game-winning points late in the final quarter. The Commodores will take a haunting feeling back to Nashville, knowing that they had about a half-dozen chances to earn a bonus game in December.
CFN Prediction: Wake Forest 24 … Vanderbilt 23
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