Premature Preview: Vanderbilt

Sorry so late with this, but it has been a busy day. So let’s jump right into Mississippi State’s Week 3 foe.

Vanderbilt Commodores (Sept. 19, in Nashville)

Conference: SEC

2008 record: 7-6 (4-4 SEC, T3rd), beat Boston College 16-14 in Music City Bowl

Final ranking: Unranked

Coach: Bobby Johnson (7 years, 27-56 record)

Returning starters: 18 (8 offense, 9 defense, 1 specialist)

Last year: MSU 17, Vanderbilt 14 (in Starkville)

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It’ll be a second straight SEC road game for MSU, and it being early in the season, it won’t be time yet for Vandy’s annual second-half faceplant. Lot of experience returning for the Commodores, including senior QB Mackenzi Adams, who threw for only 47 yards in last season’s matchup, as he split snaps with Chris Nickson. Adams will not strike any fear into State’s defense; he couldn’t complete even half his passes last year and had eight INTs against five TDs. Maybe that’s why he’s being pushed by sophomore Larry Smith, and why coach Bobby Johnson might incorporate some no-huddle spread looks.

Although Vanderbilt has eight starters returning on offense, it’s a unit that ranked 117th (out of 119 teams) in the nation in total offense. Nevertheless, the ‘Dores won their first bowl game in 53 years, and with so much returning, they’re expecting to make some noise in the Eastern Division.

Vandy was 5-0 and ranked No. 13 going into last year’s game, a ranking that was obviously waaay too high. MSU hoped at the time that the victory would spark a turnaround, but it obviously didn’t. The Bulldogs were 2-4 following that game and went 2-4 the rest of the way.

As for MSU’s offense, better keep an eye on VU linebacker Patrick Benoist (109 tackles). I’m sure MSU coach Dan Mullen would like to have quarterback situation figured out by this point, whether it’s one or two guys under center.

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