The SEC is back for another week of football after a debut week that was interesting to say the least. In week 2, a couple of the most interesting teams from week 1, the LSU Tigers and Vanderbilt Commodores look rebound from week 1 losses when they square off in Nashville.
Despite both teams coming into the contest at 0-1, they are trending in very different directions. Vanderbilt turned in a better than expected performance in their loss to Texas A&M, dragging the Aggies into a defensive battle before falling 17-12 in College Station. LSU, on the other hand, is facing a backs against the wall situation already after giving up SEC-record numbers to Mike Leach, KJ Costello, and Mississippi State in a 44-34 loss.
Despite LSU and Vanderbilt scoring 34 and 12 in their openers, it is the Tigers that seem to be more concerned with their offense right now, with good reason. Nobody expected Myles Brennan to look like Joe Burrow in his first ever start, but Brennan struggled all game, making questionable reads and missing wide-open receivers. It didn’t help that Brennan spent the most of the game under siege, as the Bulldogs racked up 7 sacks on the day, terrorizing the Tigers offensive line. If Dare Rosenthal isn’t able to go this week, Vanderbilt might have the chance to pressure Brennan enough to throw him off his game and keep LSU behind the chains.
On the other side of the ball, Derek Stingley Jr. should be back, but Glen Logan is still out one more game. Stingley’s return should allow everyone in the LSU secondary to play in spots that are more suited to their abilities. Players like Jay Ward and Darren Evans, who where thrown into the deep end versus a Mike Leach offense, should have a chance to get more comfortable with SEC play this week against a very limited Vandy offense. Jacoby Stevens, who had 6 tackles with 2 sacks last week, looked every bit the superstar he is and should have another big game on Saturday. Damone Clark and NDSU transfer Jabril Cox also came up with sacks for the LSU front seven, which held its own all day but was undone by Leach, Costello, and Kylin Hill.
The guy that will try to replicate Costello’s magic vs LSU is Vanderbilt freshman QB Ken Seals. Seals had an up and down debut vs A&M, going 20/29 for 159 yards with 1 TD and 2 INTs. Ja’Veon Marlow lead the team on the ground with 65 yards on 16 carries. Whichever one of Amir Abdul-Rahman and Cam Johnson doesn’t have to deal with Stingley should have the chance to have put up some numbers against a secondary that allowed 3 100-yard receivers last week.
While I don’t want to dismiss Vanderbilt’s chances in this game, it more than likely will be used by most people as an indicator of just how far away from the top of the SEC LSU is. If the Tigers can come out and put up points while stifling the Dores, it’s a good sign that LSU is a very good team albeit a work-in-progress. If Vanderbilt can muck it up and force the Tigers into a game that mirrors the Texas A&M contest, LSU probably is much closer to the middle of the pack than we all thought before the season. For what will likely be a very run-of-the-mill win for the Tigers, this game should tell us a lot about the two teams, and how high or low they will be in the SEC when it is all set and done.
How To Watch
Time: 7:30 EST
Network: SEC Network