It’s Year Two of the Derek Mason era at Vanderbilt. Mason took over after a successful Commodores run under former coach James Franklin, but had a rough go in his first season, finishing 3-9 and 0-8 in SEC play. Vandy will kick this season off by welcoming the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers to town. We take a look at how both teams will fare in the Vanderbilt vs. Western Kentucky prediction and game preview below.
Vanderbilt vs. Western Kentucky Prediction & Preview
Why You Need To Care
Western Kentucky, which has visions of representing the Group of Five in a January bowl game, can make an early statement by beating an SEC team … any SEC team. The Hilltoppers might be the class of Conference USA in 2015, fueled by a pass-happy offensive attack. After just one year, Vandy coach Derek Mason is already facing heat, the result of going 3-9 in 2014. He and his Commodores can ill afford to start a second straight season with a home loss to a smaller school.
Why Western Kentucky Will Win
The Toppers can score on anyone this fall. The program that averaged more than 44 points per game in 2014 returns ace QB Brandon Doughty, 1,500-yard rusher Leon Allen and most of last year’s top receivers. WKU presents major problems for a shaky Commodore defensive backfield.
Why Vanderbilt Will Win
Sure, it’s Vandy, but this is still an SEC front seven that the Hilltoppers will be facing in Nashville. LSU aside, this could be the best collection of linemen and linebackers that Western Kentucky will face in 2015. DE Caleb Azubike and linebackers Stephen Weatherly and Nigel Bowden could squelch WKU’s balance by sealing running lanes for Allen.
Player Who Matters
If Western Kentucky is to take the next step this fall, it needs more help from a defense that was gashed in 2014. LB Nick Holt headlines a unit that shouldn’t feel too much from an attack that has RB Ralph Webb and a whole lot of uncertainty in the passing game.
What’s Going To Happen
Western Kentucky won’t squander an opportunity to make an opening night splash against an SEC host. The Hilltoppers may not cut loose. But they’ll have enough success to pull ahead early and keep the necrotic Commodores from ever erasing the deficit.
Vanderbilt vs. Western Kentucky Score Prediction
Drum roll, please … the Vanderbilt vs. Western Kentucky prediction is …
Final Score: Western Kentucky 31, Vanderbilt 24