The News Courier in Athens, Alabama


September 27, 2013

Vandy back home hosting UAB for final SEC tuneup


Franklin said Carta-Samuels has done a nice job with the outside distractions — for the most part.

"Our first two years here it's been football and school," Franklin said. "We've had some things outside of those two areas that we haven't had to deal with the past couple years."


Here are five things to watch to see if UAB can pull off the upset or if Vanderbilt extends its nonconference winning streak to eight straight games.

START FAST: Vanderbilt has been outscored 31-10 in the first quarter this season, and the Commodores' last opening drive ended with an interception. They need to start much faster as an offense to tune up for October with the likes of Missouri, Georgia, Texas A&M and Florida ahead. Carta-Samuel was picked off on the opening drive last week.

LOTS OF POINTS: The Blazers are averaging 33 points a game compared to 30.5 for Vanderbilt and are coming off their first win this season. Unfortunately, defense has proven an issue for UAB. The Blazers are giving up more points (39.3) than they've been scoring and allowed 56 to LSU on Sept. 7.

WHERE'S KIMBROW? Brian Kimbrow's status for this game could be in question after the sophomore running back went on a Twitter rant a day after not getting even a single carry against UMass. He's not on the depth chart this week. Kimbrow ranks third on the team with 104 yards rushing behind Wesley Tate and Jerron Seymour, and Franklin has been waiting to see if one takes over the job. Kimbrow certainly didn't help himself by complaining so publicly.

A RECORD CATCH: Vanderbilt receiver Jordan Matthews just continues to lead the SEC in catches, and he's second in yards receiving. The senior has caught at least six passes in each game this season as he chases down SEC records for career receptions and yards receiving. Now he's just one TD reception away from tying Dan Stricker (21) for most TD catches in school history.

ROAD WEARY: This will be the third road trip in four games already this season for the Blazers and the second trip all-time to Vanderbilt. The Commodores beat UAB 31-15 in the only other game between these programs back in 1996 — the Blazers' first year in Division I.

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