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Analysis: Vanderbilt vs. Houston - BBVA Compass Bowl

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Here is my ninth of 10 previews and predictions on the SEC bowl games in college football this season including the BCS National Championship.

BBVA Compass Bowl
Vanderbilt (8-4) vs. Houston (8-4)
Jan. 4 / 1 p.m. / ESPN
Legion Field (71,594) / Birmingham, Ala.
Series History: First Meeting
VegasInsider Point Spread: Vanderbilt -2 ½

Vinny’s Vibe: Houston is #1 in the country in turnovers forced and turnover margin. So. FS Trevon Stewart led the nation with 10 takeaways, including 6 fumble recoveries. He also had 99 tackles to lead an improved Houston defense.

Houston isn’t the “throw it 70 times, all pass” type of team of the past. The Cougars are a better passing team than running team, no question, but actually rely on their opportunistic defense more than you might think. QB John O’Korn led all true freshmen nationally with 26 passing touchdowns. WR Deontay Greenberry is a productive, big target.

Houston freshman Demarcus Ayers led the AAC in kick returns.

Vanderbilt will start Patton Robinette at QB. He’s been used as a zone-read dual-threat QB but he has the skills to be an excellent pocket passer. I think he’s the key. If he’s made the development in the month of bowl practices like we’ve seen other quarterbacks make, that will make Vandy tough to stop. Vandy runs the ball efficiently. The stats don’t wow you, but the convert in short yardage in the redzone.

As he has many times in his record-setting career, watch for WR Jordan Matthews to put the Commodores on his back, show that he’s the best player on the field and lead Vandy, remarkably, to a 9-win season.

Vanderbilt 31 Houston 27

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