Vanderbilt WR needs 4 catches for another SEC mark - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Vanderbilt WR needs 4 catches for another SEC mark

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TERESA M. WALKER
AP Sports Writer

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Teams have sent two and three defenders at Jordan Matthews all season trying to slow down the Vanderbilt senior rewriting the Southeastern Conference's record book for receivers.

And the extra coverage still isn't working.

Matthews already has the SEC record for most yards receiving in a career with 3,358, and he needs only four catches with two games remaining to become the league's career leader in receptions in a mark he could get Saturday at Tennessee (4-6, 1-5 Southeastern Conference).

Vols coach Butch Jones has to defend Matthews next, and he called the receiver as good as any in the country.

"He's explosive, and he can do it all," Jones said. "He can play in the slot, he can play outside the numbers, he can adjust to the ball in the air, and he's a playmaker. All you have to do is get the ball anywhere around him, and he's going to make a play for them. He has great confidence. I think they feed off of him."

Jones already has seen Matthews in person when he coached Cincinnati against the receiver and Vanderbilt in the 2011 Liberty Bowl. Matthews had four catches for 56 yards in the Commodores' loss to Cincinnati.

The 6-foot-3, 206-pound senior from Huntsville, Ala., has 1,076 yards receiving this season, making him the first receiver in Vanderbilt history with back-to-back 1,000-yard receiving seasons. He's a semifinalist for the Biletnikoff Award for the nation's best receiver. He's done that in a season where the Commodores (6-4, 3-4) have been without their second-leading receiver from a year ago and their second-leading receiver this season has been out with an injury the past two games.

"I think it is his determination, he has unbelievable understanding of who he is and what his strengths are," Vanderbilt coach James Franklin said Monday. "As a staff, we like to find different ways each week to get him the ball. He is a kind of guy that exemplifies our program, with having a chip on his shoulder."

Matthews had a career-high 12 catches for 141 yards in last week's 22-6 win over Kentucky, and he had a career-best 178 yards receiving in the season-opening loss to Mississippi. He had a season low five catches for 45 yards in Vanderbilt's win at Florida on Nov. 9.

"As long as I continue to get better each day in practice, I'm fine," Matthews said last week.

"I know the kind of talent I have and I know the kind of competitor I am. A lot of people will look at the stats and the number of targets, but as long as we come out with the win and I know and my teammates know that I gave it my all, that is all that matters to me."

Matthews is on target to become the first SEC receiver with 100 catches in a season and currently leads the league with 83 catches, and he is second averaging 107.6 yards per game. He already has six school records, and he will pass former Vanderbilt receiver Earl Bennett now with the NFL's Chicago Bears with his fourth reception whether that comes Saturday in Knoxville or Nov. 30 against Wake Forest. He texts regularly with Bennett

Now Matthews has senior Austyn Carta-Samuels back at quarterback. Carta-Samuels was hurt Oct. 19 in a win over Georgia, but he started last week against Kentucky. Carta-Samuels said Matthews loves the extra attention because he knows teammates like Krause or Vanderbilt's talented crop of freshmen will get chances to make plays.

"He's very mature about the fact that he doesn't need the receptions or numbers to be happy at the end of the day," Carta-Samuels said. "For him all that matters is a win or a loss. If he can see his teammates having success, he's really excited. If he can see his teammates have success, if he can allow his teammates to have success because of him. He takes great respect and pride in that."

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AP Sports Writer Steve Megargee in Knoxville, Tenn., contributed to this report.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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