A Look Ahead: Vanderbilt

LSU opens Southeastern Conference play next Saturday when Vanderbilt comes to town and the Tigers will get a Commodore squad that is riding high after a 45-0 season-opening victory.

LSU’s home and conference opener against Vanderbilt will get a little more attention this week after what transpired on Saturday.

 

The Tigers held on for a 31-23 victory over Washington – losers of 15 straight games – while the Commodores destroyed Western Carolina 45-0.

 

Yes, Washington would probably destroy Western Carolina to the same degree, and the Catamounts are a FCS participant (formerly known as Division I-AA). But the ease that Vandy disposed of Western Carolina supports our earlier premise that this is not your typical Vanderbilt squad.

 

Bobby Johnson returns 18 starters from last year’s group that finished 7-6 and capped the season with a bowl victory over Boston College – the school’s first bowl win in 53 years.

 

Vandy got off to a quick start against Western Carolina and led 21-0 at the half before tacking on 24 points in the second half, including 17 in the fourth quarter.

 

The Commodores, who used a no-huddle attack, controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and amassed a staggering 620 yards with 433 by way of the ground attack.

 

With the Commodores’ top rusher Jared Hawkins sidelined with a foot injury, Zac Stacy and Warren Norman led Vandy’s ground assault with 133 and 105 yards, respectively. Stacy added one score while Norman ran for two touchdowns.

 

Sophomore quarterback Larry Smith accounted for 219 total yards before exiting late in the third quarter due to dehydration. He also suffered a minor arm injury but could have returned had the game still been in question.

 

Defensively, Vanderbilt held the Catamounts to 115 yards (41 rushing and 74 passing) and pitched their first shutout since 1999. The Commodores, who allowed only four first downs, were led by backup defensive lineman T.J. Greenstone’s five tackles. He also recovered a fumble and registered one of Vandy’s three quarterback sacks on the day.

 

Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. on Saturday.


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