#1 Alabama Crimson Tide at Vanderbilt Commodores
Saturday, September 23, 2017, 3:30 pm Eastern, TV: CBS
Vanderbilt Stadium – Nashville, Tennessee
Opening Line: Alabama -18 1/2
Current Line: Alabama -18 1/2
Opening Total: 43
Current Total: 43
Opening Money Line: Alabama -1300 / Vanderbilt +800
Current Money Line: Alabama -1050 / Vanderbilt +675
There are five undefeated teams left in the SEC and four of them play each other this week. The Mississippi State Bulldogs travel to the Georgia Bulldogs and the #1 Alabama Crimson Tide travel to the Vanderbilt Commodores. The Kentucky Wildcats are also undefeated.
Alabama and Vanderbilt are both 3-0 as they open SEC play Saturday afternoon in Nashville. This is only the seventh time Vanderbilt has played in the SEC game of the week on CBS. As you might expect, Alabama has dominated the series against Vanderbilt 59-19-4 including 27-14-2 in Nashville. The teams haven’t played since a 34-0 Alabama shutout in 2011. They haven’t played in Nashville since 2007. Alabama has won 21 straight games in the series dating back to 1985.
Alabama is coached by Nick Saban. The Crimson Tide have a neutral site win over Florida State in Atlanta, plus home wins over Mountain West teams Fresno State 41-10 and Colorado State 41-23 last week. Alabama lead 41-10 in the fourth against Colorado State but the Rams scored two late touchdowns to make the final appear closer than it actually was. Alabama was a 31 point favorite against Colorado State and the total was 55.5. The Crimson Tide are 1-2 ATS this season and the total is 1-2 this season.
Vanderbilt is coached by Derek Mason. The Commodores have a road win over Middle Tennessee 28-6, plus home wins over Alabama A&M 42-0 and Kansas State 14-7 last week. Vanderbilt scored midway through the fourth to upset the then #18 Wildcats. There was some talk that the win would propel them into the top 25 but they are receiving votes. Vanderbilt is 2-1 ATS and the total is 0-3 this season. Against Kansas State, Vanderbilt was a 5 point underdog and the total was 49.
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Alabama is outscoring teams 35-13 this season. Alabama is #44 in scoring and #16 in points allowed nationally. The Crimson Tide average 418 yards per game on offense including 179 passing and 239 rushing yards. Alabama is #107 in passing and #25 in rushing nationally. Alabama is allowing 309 yards per game on defense including 224 passing and 85 rushing. The Crimson Tide are #38 in total offense and #10 against the rush nationally. The Crimson Tide are +6 in turnovers with 6 takeaways. Alabama averages 35 penalty yards per game and opponents average 17 per game. The Crimson Tide is 17/41 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 18/44. Alabama has forced 5 sacks and allowed 3 this season. The Crimson Tide are 11/12 scoring in the red zone with 6 touchdowns, and opponents are 6/8 with four touchdowns.
Quarterback Jalen Hurts has thrown for 472 yards with 4 touchdowns and no interceptions, and has 36 carries for 312 yards with 3 touchdowns. He leads the team in rushing. Back-up Tua Tagovailoa has thrown for 64 yards and a touchdown.
Running back Damien Harris has 26 carries for 158 yards and 3 touchdowns and also has 4 catches for 29 yards and a touchdown. Bo Scarbrough has 33 carries for 142 yards and a touchdown, plus 6 catches for 55 yards. Najee Harris has 20 catches for 86 yards, plus 2 catches for 10 yards.
Receiver Calvin Ridley has 15 catches for 219 yards and 2 touchdowns plus 13 rushing yards. Robert Foster has 3 catches for 75 yards and a touchdown. Cam Sims has 4 catches for 35 yards. Tight end Miller Forristall is out for the season. No other Alabama receiver has more than one catch. Five linebackers are listed as questionable or out for the Crimson Tide.
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Vanderbilt is outscoring teams 28-4 this season. The Commodores are #1 in points allowed nationally. Vanderbilt averages 348 yards per game on offense including 243 passing and 105 rushing yards. The Commodores are #104 in total offense and #112 in rushing nationally. On defense, Vanderbilt allows 207 yards per game including 95 passing and 111 rushing yards. The Commodores are #1 in pass defense and #4 in total defense nationally. Vanderbilt is +4 in turnovers with 5 takeaways. The Commodores average 58 penalty yards per game and opponents average 34 per game. Vanderbilt is 19/44 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 7/46. The Commodores have forced 10 sacks and allowed 2 this season. Vanderbilt is 7/9 scoring in the red zone with 7 touchdowns and opponents are 1/4 with a touchdown.
Vanderbilt quarterback Kyle Shurmur has completed 71% of his passes for 703 yards with 8 touchdowns and no interceptions. Shurmur is the son of longtime NFL coordinator Pat Shurmur.
Running back Ralph Webb has 58 carries for 149 yards and 2 touchdowns, and also has 3 catches for 104 yards and a touchdown. Khari Blasingame has 19 carries for 93 yards. Jamauri Wakefield has 15 carries for 64 yards. Fullback Bailey McElwain is questionable with a foot injury.
Receiver Trent Sherfield has has 12 catches for 234 yards and a touchdown. Jared Pinkney has 9 catches for 125 yards and 2 touchdowns. Kalija Lipscomb has 6 catches for 106 yards and 3 touchdowns. C.J. Duncan has 12 catches for 100 yards and a touchdown.
Alabama is 5-0 ATS in road games, 4-0 against teams with winning records, 6-1 in SEC games, 5-1 on fieldturf, 7-2 after failing to cover, 10-4 after rushing for 200 yards or more, 7-3 after scoring more than 40 points, 2-5 after a straight up win, and against teams with winning records. The under is 6-0 in this series and 4-0 in Nashville between the teams.
Vanderbilt is 6-1 ATS against teams with winning records, 4-1 in SEC games, 17-7 after allowing less than 20 points, 7-3 after gaining less than 275 yards, 9-5 in September, 1-5 after a cover, and 0-5 against teams with winning road records.
Near the end of the upset over Kansas State, Vanderbilt fans were chanting “We want ‘Bama.” Well, you have them. The Commodores are undefeated based on a suffocating defense, but I don’t know if they can score enough points to keep up with Alabama. The Commodores hang around for awhile, but Alabama pulls away late.