It has all the makings of the quality versus quantity debate.
No one in the Southeastern Conference catches more passes than Vanderbilt wide receiver Jordan Matthews. Likewise, no one in the conference does more with the passes he catches than Texas A&M wide receiver Mike Evans.
Although they won’t be on the field at the same time, their matchup figures to be one of the more compelling aspects of Saturday’s game between the Commodores (4-3, 1-3) and Aggies (5-2, 2-2) at College Station, Texas (11:20 a.m., SEC Network).
Matthews, a senior, leads the conference in receptions. He averages 8.3 per contest and no one else averages as many as seven.
"He just comes to work every single day and does the best that he can to help this team win and have success,” coach James Franklin said.
SEC RECEPTIONS LEADERS
(Through Oct. 20)
1. Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt 58
2. Jarvis Landry, LSU 53
3. Mike Evans, Texas A&M 43
Evans, a sophomore, is well ahead in receiving yards. His 146.3 yards per game are more 30 better than Matthews’ 114.0.
“You can go back to two-a-days when I said he was one of the better players in the country before the season even started – I’ll stick with that,” A&M coach Kevin Sumlin said. “I don’t think anyone would argue with that based on his performance and his consistency with his performance over the last seven games.”
SEC RECEIVING YARDS LEADERS
(Through Oct. 20)
1. Mike Evans, Texas A&M 1,024
2. Odell Beckham, LSU 805
3. Joran Matthews, Vanderbilt 798
(It’s worth noting, given that an LSU player is second in each category, that the Tigers have played eight games, one more than Vanderbilt and Texas A&M.)
There should be little concern over Vanderbilt’s quarterback situation and what happens if, as expected, redshirt freshman Patton Robinette starts in place of injured Austyn Carta-Samuels.
Three of Robinette’s first six completions and four of nine in relief duty last Saturday were to Matthews. He had three other throws to Matthews that were incomplete. Wide receiver Jonathan Krause, with three, was the only other player who caught more than one pass from Robinette.
“I work with him every single day,” Matthews said. “I've got chemistry with all of [the quarterbacks] and I've got confidence in all them which is the most important.”