Tennessee Volunteers vs. Vanderbilt Commodores: statistic-based game preview

Joe Robbins

Overtime for the second week in a row? It could happen.

A weekly look at our upcoming opponent's recent history, with animated drive charts, links to SB Nation game pages, and statistical comparisons. Caveats. I'm mixing it up a bit this week, moving the more important and more interesting head-to-head chart up front, followed by the Sketchy Conclusions and Prediction, and then followed by the details.

Head to Head Comparisons

Tennessee Logo Vanderbilt Logo
Result Against Comps
UT rush v. Vandy rush defense 161.10
153/213 180
UT pass v. Vandy pass defense 334
203/257 230
Vandy rush v. UT rush defense 190.50
225 180/234
Vandy pass v. UT pass defense 289.70
306 290/377
UT scoring offense v. Vandy scoring defense 37.90
35/44 40
Vandy scoring offense v. UT scoring defense 37
37/51(28)/26 39
Again with the caveats: These are informed guesses rather than mathematical calculations. But here's the general analytical framework: We are averaging X in a certain category. The opponent averages Y against that, which is most closely comparable to some identified previous opponent, against whom we did Z. All of that leads to an informed guess labeled as Prediction. And one more time for emphasis: The less data you have, the more sketchy the guess, and the guesses range from ALL CAPS SKETCHY WITH EXCLAMATION POINTS at the beginning of the season to merely lower case sketchy for the last game.

If you're new to this chart, here's how it normally works. Looking at Vandy's Scoring Offense against UT's Scoring Defense, UT is giving up 37 points per game. Vandy is getting 25.60, which is right around what Florida, Missouri, and Akron are doing. Those teams scored (in regulation) 37, 28, and 26 points against UT, so the prediction is 30 points. However, . . .

. . . two weeks ago, I came to more fully appreciate Tennessee's struggles on defense because the predictions were off by 40% on Troy's rushing yards and by 100% on Troy's passing yards and points. So last week, I gave Missouri's offensive predictions a 50% premium and predicted 172 rushing yards, 390 passing yards, and 43 points (and the victory). They got 153, 432, and 51. Yeah, those stats are inflated by overtime, but a result is a result. So I'm going with a 30% premium on those stats for the Vandy game. So the first number is what I would normally predict, and the second is the number with the premium. I would not rule out overtime for the second week in a row.

Sketchy Conclusions

  • Vandy's rushing defense is most like Missouri and Mississippi State, and its passing defense is most like, gulp, Alabama and Florida.
  • The Commodores' offense is most like Troy on the ground and Alabama through the air.
  • Yeah, Vandy's defense is pretty stout, but Tennessee should put up some points. So should Vandy, though, and if Tennessee's defense continues to struggle to the degree it has struggled over the past couple of games, we could be looking at overtime for the second consecutive week.


  • Tennessee 40, Vanderbilt 39

Schedule and Animated Drive Charts

Vanderbilt Logo
South Carolina Gamecocks 8/30/12 loss 13 - 17 coverage
@ Northwestern Wildcats 9/8/12 loss 13 - 23 coverage
Presbyterian Blue Hose 9/15/12 win 58 - 0 coverage
@ Georgia Bulldogs 9/22/12 loss 3 - 48 coverage
@ Missouri Tigers 10/6/12 win 19 - 15 coverage
Florida Gators 10/13/12 loss 17 - 31 coverage
Auburn Tigers 10/20/12 win 17 - 13 coverage
UMass Minutemen 10/27/12 win 49 - 7 coverage
@ Kentucky Wildcats 11/3/12 win 40 - 0 coverage
@ Mississippi Rebels 11/10/12 win 27 - 26 coverage
Tennessee Logo
@ N.C. State Wolfpack 8/31/12 win 35 - 21 coverage
Georgia State Panthers 9/8/12 win 51 - 13 coverage
Florida Gators 9/15/12 loss 20 - 37 coverage
Akron Zips 9/22/12 win 47 - 26 coverage
@ Georgia Bulldogs 9/29/12 loss 44 - 51 coverage
@ Mississippi St. Bulldogs 10/13/12 loss 31 - 41 coverage
Alabama Crimson Tide 10/20/12 loss 13 - 44 coverage
@ South Carolina Gamecocks 10/27/12 loss 35 - 38 coverage
Troy Trojans 11/3/12 win 55 - 48 coverage
Missouri Tigers 11/10/12 loss 48 - 51 coverage

According to the NCAA's "Toughest Schedule" PDF, Tennessee's schedule is now 12th, and Vandy's is 57th. Vandy is 6-4, and we're not releasing our record to the public without asubpoena.

Here are the drive charts for the two teams' games against Missouri:


Animated Drive Chart brought to you by Gameday Depot.

Animated Drive Chart brought to you by Gameday Depot.

National Unit Rankings

Category National
Actual National
Actual Conf
Conf Leader Actual
Rushing Offense 59 166.00 Army 366.10 6 Texas A&M 242.70
Passing Offense 75 217.70 Texas Tech 370.00 9 Tennessee 334.00
Total Offense 79 383.70 Louisiana Tech 576.50 8 Texas A&M 545.40
Scoring Offense 81 25.60 Oregon 54.80 10 Texas A&M 43.10
Passing Efficiency 53 136.14 Alabama 170.30 8 Alabama 170.30
Sacks Allowed T-70 2.00 Air Force .30 5 Tennessee .50

Offensive observations. Not much offense here. Seems like I could have been saying this for weeks.

Category National
Actual National
Actual Conf
Conf Leader Actual
Rushing Defense 57 153.40 Stanford 58.60 10 Alabama 76.20
Pass Efficiency Defense 11 105.69 Florida 90.43 4 Florida 90.43
Total Defense 23 330.40 Florida St. 242.90 5 Alabama 247.80
Scoring Defense 16 18.00 Alabama 11.10 4 Alabama 11.10
Pass Defense 14 177.00 Michigan 149.20 3 LSU 165.70
Sacks 40 2.30 Stanford 4.20 8 South Carolina 3.40
Tackles For Loss 4 7.90 Stanford 9.10 1 Vanderbilt 7.90

Defensive observations.Yeah, I really should be cutting and pasting at this point. Not much offense; good defense. Shootout, high noon.

Category National
Actual National
Actual Conf
Conf Leader Actual
Net Punting 13 40.31 Louisiana Tech 43.13 3 Florida 41.89
Punt Returns 69 7.75 Boston College 25.00 7 Missouri 16.17
Kickoff Returns 59 21.88 Rutgers 30.40 8 Missouri 27.60
Turnover Margin 93 -.60 Kansas St. 2.00 12 LSU 1.20

Special teams and turnovers observations. Eh.

Players to Watch

Category Player National
Rushing Zac Stacy 66 76.90
Brian Kimbrow 39.60
Passing Efficiency (Min. 15 Att./Game) Jordan Rodgers 52 135.69
Total Offense Jordan Rodgers 62 223.00
Zac Stacy 79.30
Receptions Per Game Jordan Matthews 15 7.00
Chris Boyd 4.00
Receiving Yards Per Game Jordan Matthews 12 100.30
Chris Boyd 67 68.60
Scoring Carey Spear 6.30

Offensive Observations. Nothing much to see here except that we should expect Jordan Matthews to go absolutely all over crazy against our D this weekend. Whether he'll share is the real question.

Category Player National
Interceptions Trey Wilson .20
Sacks Chase Garnham T-69 .55
Tackles Kenny Ladler 7.22
Tackles For Loss Chase Garnham T-58 1.05
Karl Butler T-98 .90
Rob Lohr .80
Walker May .80
Jared Morse .80

Defense. While the defense is solid, it doesn't look like there are any superstars here.

Category Player National
Punting (Min. 3.6 Punts/Game) Richard Kent 12 44.41
Punt Returns (Min. 1.2 Ret./Game) Jonathan Krause 47 7.95
Kickoff Returns (Min. 1.2 Ret./Game) Brian Kimbrow 75 21.16
Field Goals Carey Spear T-17 1.50
All-Purpose Runners Jordan Matthews 70 110.60
Zac Stacy 89.10
Brian Kimbrow 80.10

Special teams. Okay.

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