The Pre-Snap Read

Zac Ellis: Inside the Commodores Zac Ellis

Pre-Snap Read: Georgia

Breaking down Vanderbilt's trip to face No. 2 Dawgs

Previewing Saturday's matchup between Vanderbilt and No. 2 Georgia (6:30 p.m. CT SEC Network):
 
History Lesson: Vanderbilt trails the all-time series vs. Georgia 20-57-2, but the Commodores have beaten the Bulldogs twice since 2012. That includes Vanderbilt's last trip to Athens, a 17-16 VU win in 2016.
 
Names to Watch (Georgia)
QB Jake Fromm
Fromm has been a model of efficiency through five games, ranking second in the SEC in passer rating (186.06) and yards per attempt (10.2). But the Dawgs also utilize freshman quarterback Justin Fields, a more natural runner who has played in all five games and scored a pair of touchdowns.
 
RB D'Andre Swift
As one piece of Georgia's rushing attack, Swift leads the Bulldogs with four touchdowns and has piled up 240 yards on the year. He is tied with Elijah Holyfield with a team-leading 52 carries and has helped Georgia average 250.4 rush yards per game in 2018.
 
LB D'Andre Walker
The senior Walker recorded five tackles, including a sack and a forced fumble, in last week's 38-12 win over Tennessee. Walker has forced three fumbles through five games, which ranks fifth nationally.
 
The Statistical
43.2
Georgia's scoring average in 2018. The Bulldogs have scored at least 40 points in four of five games this year and average 40.1 points in three SEC wins over Missouri, South Carolina and Tennessee. If it holds, Georgia's current scoring average would set a new program record, besting the 37.8 points-per-game mark set in 2012.
 
4
Consecutive games in which Vanderbilt receiver Kalija Lipscomb has caught at least nine passes. A superb start to 2018 has vaulted the junior from New Orleans to the top of several conference categories; Lipscomb ranks first in the SEC in catches (43) and receiving yards (480) and is tied for first with six touchdown catches.
 
15
Number of Commodore newcomers on defense who have recorded at least two tackles in 2018. Several players who saw limited to no action on defense last fall are making an impact this season. Redshirt freshman linebacker Dimitri Moore is leading the charge with 25 tackles, including six last week against Tennessee State.
 
The Big Question: Can the Commodores return to form? Vanderbilt's Derek Mason called last week's 31-27 win over Tennessee State "a great win, but a poor performance." Mason knows the Commodores must play their best against Georgia on Saturday. The Dores' stood tall in their last road trip, a 22-17 loss at No. 8 Notre Dame. Can they rekindle the same magic in Athens?
 
Vanderbilt Needs To: Minimize mistakes. Quarterback Kyle Shurmur threw two first-quarter interceptions last week against Tennessee State, allowing the Tigers to lead 13-10 at half. Vanderbilt can't afford to dig itself in a similar hole against a talented Bulldogs squad. The Commodores stand their best chance between the hedges on the heels of a clean ballgame with turnovers.
 
Did You Know? In 2016, Vanderbilt beat Georgia 17-16 in Athens despite the Bulldogs holding a 421-171 advantage in total yards. Special teams helped set up the Dores' first touchdown after Darius Sims returned the opening kickoff 95 yards. Later, a UGA three-and-out deep in its own territory allowed the Dores to knock in a field goal on the ensuing drive for a 10-6 third-quarter lead.
 
He Said It: "I don't know what that looks like yet. I've seen flashes, but I haven't seen this group play 60 minutes and four quarters. That's what it will take to play well down at Georgia." –Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason
 
Zac Ellis is the Writer and Digital Media Editor for Vanderbilt Athletics.
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