VANDERBILT VS. TENNESSEE STATE
Time: 4 p.m. ET/3 p.m. CT
TV: SEC Network
Commentators: Mike Morgan, John Congemi, Alex Corddry
Watch Online: WatchESPN
The Vanderbilt Commodores are in the midst of a slide. Stop me if you’ve heard that one before. While it isn’t as steep as the one they went through last year, the Commodores are now 2-2 after getting out in front at the start of the year. Losses to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and South Carolina Gamecocks have set them back a bit. The good news? There’s an opportunity for a bounce back this week.
Vanderbilt welcomes lowly Tennessee State to Nashville. The Tigers shouldn’t pose too much of a threat as they are an FCS team, of course. And this doesn’t look like a Vandy team that would be challenged by an FCS squad either. Even despite the 2-2 record, the ‘Dores pushed Notre Dame to the limit and have looked good. Well, outside of the blowout loss to South Carolina last week. But in their defense, the Gamecocks may (or may not) be stout.
The Commodores so far have been solid through the air thanks to the play of Kyle Shurmur. Shurmur has averaged 7.2 yards per attempt on his 130 throws this season, and has six touchdowns to just two interceptions. He could stand to complete more of his passes, however, as his completion percentage has dropped to 59 percent. That should see an uptick against an FCS team, but he will certainly need Kalija Lipscomb, Jared Pinkney, Donaven Tennyson and C.J. Bolar among others to step up and help him out.
All told this should be a relatively easy win for Vanderbilt to pick up. In doing so, they’d prop themselves back up over the .500 mark. They would set themselves up nicely, considering that they have to face the Georgia Bulldogs in their next go-around. Since that probably won’t result in a victory, they’ll have to get them where they can. Saturday presents that opportunity, so for their sake, hopefully they pounce on it in emphatic fashion.