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Opponent preview: Vanderbilt’s defense

Vanderbilt ranks near the bottom in key defensive statistics.

South Carolina v Vanderbilt Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

STARKVILLE, Miss. — The Mississippi State Bulldogs host the Vanderbilt Commodores on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. CT inside Davis Wade Stadium for their 82nd homecoming football game. Good news for MSU, the Commodores rank near the bottom in important defensive statistics.

The defense has really been the Achilles heel for the Commodores all season.

After giving up just 17 points in their 17-12 Week 1 loss to then-No. 10 Texas A&M, the Commodores gave up 41 points to both LSU and South Carolina. They then outdid themselves last week when they gave up 54 points to Ole Miss. Vanderbilt ranks 13th in the Southeastern Conference and 98th in the nation in giving up 38.3 points per game.

Vanderbilt is allowing 499 yards of total offense, which ranks 13th in the SEC and 106th in the nation. Vanderbilt’s passing defense has allowed an average of 292.8 yards per game, which ranks 11th in the SEC and 97th in the nation, while Vanderbilt’s rushing defense has allowed 206.3 yards per game, which ranks 13th in the SEC and 89th in the nation.

Junior safety Dashaun Jerkins leads the team with 26 total tackles. Tied for second on the team in tackles are sophomore cornerback Jaylen Mahoney and sophomore linebacker Anfernee Orji, who have both recorded 23 tackles. Senior defensive lineman Dayo Odeyingbo leads Vanderbilt with 2 12 sacks. He has recorded 20 total tackles.

The game will be aired on SEC Network.