After dispatching Florida State, Fresno State and Colorado State, the top ranked Alabama Crimson Tide heads to Nashville for their SEC opener and first true road game of the season against the Vanderbilt Commodores.

Vanderbilt also opens SEC play after winning non-conference contests against Middle Tennessee, Alabama A&M and Kansas State.

Prior to 2003, Alabama and Vanderbilt faced off every season from 1953-2002 with Vanderbilt winning four times and playing Alabama to three ties in that span.

On the field, Alabama has defeated Vanderbilt in 21 straight games with the last victory for the Commodores coming in 1984.

The trip to Nashville will be the first for the Crimson Tide since 2007.

Before Saturday’s 2:30 PM kickoff on CBS, discover three things you need to know about the Vanderbilt Commodores.

 

Ralph Webb

As college offenses have geared their offenses toward the quarterback in recent years, Vanderbilt’s offense has ridden the back of senior Ralph Webb to move the football.

Entering this week, Webb ranks as the program’s all-time leading rusher for a career with 3,491 career rushing yards.

The Gainesville, Florida native also set the single-season rushing record at Vandy with 1,283 rushing yards last season.

So far this season, Webb has gotten off to a slow star averaging only 2.6 yards per carry with two touchdowns and has surpassed 50 yards once in his first three outing this season.

 

Stiff Defense

Over the course of Nick Saban’s 11 seasons in Tuscaloosa, outstanding defenses have carried the Crimson Tide to numerous championship seasons.

On the opposite sideline, Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason brings one of college football’s best defenses to the table.

Statistically, the Commodores lead college football in total defense, passing defense and scoring defense allowing 198.3 total yards, 95.3 passing yards and 4.3 points per game.

The defense is a big reason why Vandy has not trailed in a game so far this season.

 

Efficient Red Zone Offense

Although Vanderbilt has averaged only 27.7 points per game, they have made the most of their red zone opportunities this season.

The Commodores have made nine trips into the red zone converting seven of their opportunities into touchdowns.

Of their 12 touchdowns early this season, seven have come in the red zone.

While Vanderbilt’s offense will face their toughest test of the season against Alabama’s defense, the Crimson Tide defense struggled last week in the red zone last week as Colorado State cashed in on all four of their red zone scoring opportunities with three of their chances resulting in touchdowns.