Vanderbilt comes into Saturday’s game at Sanford Stadium hoping to find some consistency on the offensive side of the ball. The 2016 season has been a struggle so far with the Commodores dead last in the SEC in total yardage and next to last in scoring averaging just 19.0 points per game.
You can’t talk about Vanderbilt’s offense without centering on junior running back Ralph Webb who is having another stellar season despite the Commodore’s offensive struggles.
Webb rushed for over 1,100 yards last season and is on pace to do so again this season. He is averaging 113.7 yards per game and leads the SEC in all-purpose yards at 132.5 per game. He topped 100 yards rushing in each of the last two games against Kentucky and Florida. The Bulldogs had some success against Webb last season holding him to just 68 yards on 25 carries.
Beyond Webb, the Commodores have struggled to generate much offense. Vanderbilt ranks dead last in the SEC in passing yards per game averaging just 152.3 per contest. Sophomore Kyle Shurmur is completing 53 percent of his passes and has thrown three touchdowns to go along with three interceptions. However it has been a conservative attack as he is averaging just 5.3 yards per attempt.
Kalija Lipscomb and C.J. Duncan are Shurmur’s top two receiving targets but have struggled to become consistent threats and lack the size to win many one-on-one battles.
Vanderbilt has had a hard time moving the football despite the good numbers by Webb. If the Bulldogs can take him away or even just slow him down, then it looks like the Commodores’ offense could be in a lot of trouble. The game plan this week will likely look a lot like it did in last week’s win over South Carolina. Look for the Bulldogs to try to take away Webb and force Shurmur to make enough plays to beat them.