The Vanderbilt Commodores opened the Clark Lea era in the same way they looked for so much of the Derek Mason era: By getting blown out at home. This time, though, it was made even worse by the fact that it was against FCS East Tennessee State, a program that was dormant for more than a decade before restarting in 2015.
ETSU outplayed Vandy in every facet in their 23-3 victory, but perhaps the most glaring differential came in the rushing game, where ETSU held a 179-82 edge. Vandy had no answer for ETSU running back Quay Holmes, who rushed for 149 yards on 23 carries (6.5 YPC) and a touchdown. Five of Vandy’s six first half drives ended in punts. ETSU was up just 10-3 going into the half and even at that point it felt insurmountable.
Things just kept getting worse for the Commodores, as the third quarter saw ETSU eat up nearly ten minutes of clock with two drives.
Vanderbilt quarterback Ken Seals struggled in the first game of his sophomore season, finishing the night 20-34 with 195 yards and an interception.
The good news for Vandy is there is seemingly nowhere to go but up. They’ll head to Colorado next week to face the Colorado State Rams, another team that opened their season with a big home loss to an FCS team. Someone has to win next week, at least!