Five Things We Want To See: Vanderbilt-ETSU
Vanderbilt plays its final home game of the 2019 season as they host East Tennessee State this afternoon at Vanderbilt Stadium.
It's been a long and frustrating season for coaches, players and Commodore fans, and while there are two games remaining- Tennessee in Knoxville next week- in the season, this is their best change of gaining another win.
While their 3-8 record is not good, ETSU and head coach Randy Sanders won't likely be a pushover. They bring a solid run game and a physical defense into today's contest, meaning the Commodores must do more than just show up in this one if they expect to end the home portion of the schedule with their third home win of the year.
Here are five things we want to see this afternoon against the Buccaneers.
FIVE THINGS WE WANT TO SEE
1) Jared Pinkney: A nonfactor the majority of the season, it's time, and we want to see Jared Pinkney have at least one game in his final season as a Commodore where he looks like the potential NFL first round pick he was billed to be entering the season.
He needs it and his coaches and fans deserve to get at least one final glumpse before he is gone forever.
2) Passing Game: The high water mark for passing this season came all the way back in week two when Riley Neal threw for 420 yards against Purdue. Since then the Commodores have surpassed 200 yards in only two (LSU and Ole Miss) games. Then there were the four games (Georgia, Northern Illinois, UNLV and Missouri) between 100 and 200 yards while the last three games (South Carolina 76, Florida 77 and Kentucky 90) have all failed to break the 100 yards mark.
If the Commodores can't make some hay throwing the football in this one then Senior Day might not end happily.
3) Ke"Shawn Vaugh Winning: The senior running back has been the offensive MVP this season and he deserves a better fate than what this team has been able to produce so far this season. Sending the Nashville native off in his final home game with a big day should be a theme for the team today.
4) Defense Stop The Run: Like the passing game, the run defense produced its best game of the season against the run back in week two against Purdue. Since then they have allowed two Ole Miss 412 and Kentucky 402) 400 plus yard games. Both UNLV (206) and SOuth Carolina (235) crossed the 200 yard mark and Georgia in week one surpassed 300 yards.
Only LSU, UNLV, Missouri and Florida were allowed less than 200 but more than 100 yards in a game.
Quay Holmes leads ETSU on the ground and his capable of producing big numbers. His 36 carries is the team high in a single game this season and his 255 yards is the team high in a game this season. His 1,133 yards is also a team high.
Stopping Holmes and the Bucs on the ground should be priority one, and if they can do it, then they should win this one. If not and Holmes has a big day, it could be a long day for the Commodores.
5) Have Fun: I've used this one before, but this week especially, the COmmodores just need to go out and play hard and have fun. Enjoy the moment, especially for the seniors in their final game at Vanderbilt Stadium.