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Week 9 - Massachusetts at Vanderbilt
Posted Oct 26, 2012

Week 9 Fearless Prediction – Massachusetts at Vanderbilt

Massachusetts (0-7) at Vanderbilt (3-4) Oct 27, 7:00, ESPN3

Here’s The Deal: Vanderbilt gets a relative week off after holding on to beat Auburn in a tough 17-13 home win. The Commodores can’t take any game lightly, but they should be able to go through the motions this week to get one step closer to bowl eligibility. With Kentucky up next, there’s a chance to go on a nice run, but this is the second-to-last home game with Tennessee – a relative road game at home – the other.

UMass is having a rough first season under head coach Charley Molnar, but there have been some nice moments with a good battle against Ohio and a not-that-bad performance in the loss to Miami University. However, the Minutemen have lost ten in a row going back to last season and don’t get much of a break next week against a loaded Northern Illinois. The offense is inconsistent and the defense spotty, but a win over an SEC team would make the season.

Why Massachusetts Might Win: It’s not like Vanderbilt is rolling up big offensive numbers. The ground game hit the 200-yard mark against Auburn last week for the first time against an FBS team, and while UMass hasn’t been great against the run this year, it’s coming off a nice performance against Bowling Green allowing just 94 yards with no scores. The secondary is coming up with a few big play with seven picks in seven games.

Why Vanderbilt Might Win: UMass doesn’t score. The Minutemen have thrown four touchdown passes on the season, but all four came in the loss to Ohio. The running game has been shut out of the end zone four times in seven games and have gone over 150 yards just once – a 258-yard day against MU. Worst of all, the turnovers are starting to flow with four picks against Bowling Green after giving the ball away three times against Western Michigan. Yes, UMass played better against the run last week, but it was ripped to shreds by the other BCS conference running games on the slate – UConn, Indiana and Michigan. If Vandy doesn’t make a slew of big mistakes, gets the running game rolling early, and can force a few early turnovers, this might be over.

What To Watch Out For: The UMass defense might not be stuffing anyone cold, and there aren’t nearly enough big plays, but senior linebacker Perry McIntyre is doing everything possible to hold up against the run. He started out the season making 12 tackles against UConn, and he has been red hot over the last month with four straight double-digit tackling games. While he doesn’t make a lot of big plays behind the line, he’s a decent rock against the run and he manages to get in on every play. It’ll be his job to stop Zac Stacy, who’s coming off a huge day against Auburn, running for 169 yards and a score on 27 carries.

What Will Happen: The Commodore running game will crank out 250 yards while the defense will keep UMass from finding anything that works early on. It won’t be a brutal blowout, but Vandy will get by with ease.

CFN Prediction: Vanderbilt 37 … Massachusetts 13
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Vanderbilt -32.5 O/U: 49
Must Watch Rating (5 – The Girl, 1 – Don’t Trust The B In Apt. 23): 1.5