Originally posted on Fox Sports South  |  Last updated 12/22/12
Key matchup This could be fun: N.C. State has the No. 20-rated passing game in the nation and Vanderbilt has the No. 10 pass defense in the land. And since its likely that Wolfpack quarterback Mike Glennon is going to throw the football a lot, the game between the Wolfpack and Commodores likely will be decided within this matchup. Glennon passed the ball 94 times in N.C. States last two contests and 511 times on the season. N.C. State doesnt have much of a ground attack (ranks 106th nationally), so it wont be a factor with interim coach Dana Bible, who is also the offensive coordinator, at the helm. An edge Vandy may have here is that N.C. State is 10th in the ACC in sacks allowed with 36. Glennon isnt the most mobile quarterback, but his offensive line too often allowed pressure to get to him. Vandy is 36th in the nation having registered 28 sacks. If Glennon gets rid of the ball quickly against the blitz, he has some athletes that can make big plays happen. Tobias Palmer had 46 receptions and scored six touchdowns, but hes explosive, setting an ACC record with 496 all-purpose yards at Clemson in November. Player to Watch Vanderbilt senior quarterback Jordan Rodgers should be really charged up over the idea of going up against Glennon, who could be one of the top signal callers taken in Aprils NFL draft. Vandy likely wont deviate much from its general approach, but Rodgers, the younger brother of Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, may be called on to have a huge game if the Wolfpack has the edge in our key matchup. Rodgers ranks seventh in the SEC in passing, having completed 59.5 percent of his attempts for 2,431 yards, 13 touchdowns and five interceptions. Rodgers is the player to watch because if he plays as well as he closed the last half of the season, the Commodores will be in great shape to win the game. He completed 63 percent of his pass attempts for an average of 227 yards per game with 10 touchdowns as Vandy won its last six contests. Then consider that N.C. States pass defense, which was supposed to have one of the best secondaries in the nation with the lands top cornerback in David Amerson, struggled for much of this season. N.C. State has the 94th ranked pass defense in the country. Final Analysis With a victory, Vanderbilt will equal a program high of victories in a season with nine, which also occurred in 1904 and 1915. The teams played two common opponents: Vandy blitzed Tennessee 41-18 and Wake Forest 55-21 on the road. N.C. State lost its opener to Tennessee, 35-21, but clobbered Wake, 37-6. There isnt much that can be taken from those scores other than those were Vanderbilts most recent two games, so its offense was humming when the regular season ended, and in N.C. States next-to-last game, it allowed 62 points, 34 first downs and 754 yards to Clemson. N.C. State failed to live up to its stated mission, and as a result Tom OBrien was fired. Vandy has had one of the best seasons in school history. That trajectory, and the fact that Vandy is playing just miles from campus make the Commodores the favorite. The Pick: Vanderbilt, 30-24.
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