Season Opener Saturday

Vanderbilt plays first of 10 consecutive SEC games


Vanderbilt Commodores (0-0)
No. 10/11 Texas A&M Aggies (0-0)
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Sept. 26, 2020 • 6:30 p.m. CT
Kyle Field • College Station, Texas

SEC Network
Mike Morgan (play-by-play), Andre Ware (analyst),
Taylor Davis (sideline)

WQZQ 830 AM & 93.3 FM
Joe Fisher (play-by-play), Norman Jordan (analyst),
Kevin Ingram (sideline)

• In the season opener for both squads, Vanderbilt begins its 131st season of football with a Southeastern Conference game against No. 10/11 Texas A&M. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. CT at Kyle Field with live television coverage on SEC Network Alternate.

• Vanderbilt is 80-46-4 all-time in season openers. The Commodores had won consecutive season openers against Middle Tennessee in 2018 (35-7) and 2017 (28-6) before falling to No. 3 Georgia in 2019.

• The Commodores’ Sept. 26 opener is the latest start date for the program since 1959 when it began that campaign Sept. 26 at Georgia.

• The Dores’ 10 games in the regular season will be the fewest played since 1969 (10).

• Vandy’s regular season finale is scheduled for Dec. 5. That would be the latest the Dores have wrapped up a regular season since 1911, when they finished with a win over Sewanee on Dec. 9.

• The Commodores’ Oct. 3 home opener is their latest home opener since 1959, when they welcomed Alabama on the same date.

• Saturday’s game marks just the second time in the last 12 years the Commodores have opened the season on the road, joining the 2017 tilt at Middle Tennessee (W, 28-6). On Saturday, Vanderbilt will begin a campaign against an SEC foe for the third time in five years (vs. South Carolina in 2016; vs. Georgia in 2019).

• The season opener will be just the third matchup between Vandy and Texas A&M, with all three meetings occurring since the Aggies joined the SEC in 2012. The Commodores are 0-2 against Texas A&M and fell in College Station in the initial 2013 meeting.

• Derek Mason is one of just two Vanderbilt head coaches to lead the Commodores to multiple postseason bowl appearances (2016 Independence Bowl; 2018 Texas Bowl).

• Mason’s staff will have a different look in 2020 with six new assistant coaches: Tony Ball (wide receivers), Todd Fitch (offensive coordinator), Aaron Henry (cornerbacks), Ted Roof (defensive coordinator), Pete Rossomando (offensive line) and Kenechi Udeze (linebackers).

• Twelve student-athletes on the 2020 roster have already earned their undergraduate degrees and are currently pursuing master’s degrees: Tyrell Alexander, Drew Birchmeier, Elijah Hamilton, Kenny Hebert, Mac Hereford, Scott Meyer, Connor Mignone, Oren Milstein, Andre Mintze, Stephen Spanellis, Cameron Tidd and Jamauri Wakefield.

• Vanderbilt’s offense will have a new signal caller as the lone Commodore to throw a pass in 2019 and return in 2020 is junior wide receiver Cam Johnson (1-2; 16 yards).

• Gone this season from the Vanderbilt offense is Ke’Shawn Vaughn, who rushed for 1,028 yards in 2019 and finished his career as the fifth-leading rusher in Commodore history (2,272 yards). Vaughn was a third-round pick (76th overall) by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2020 NFL Draft.

• Johnson (30 receptions, 316 yards) is the lone returning Commodore with more than 15 receptions during the 2019 season.

• Vanderbilt’s defense brings back plenty of experience, led by senior lineman Dayo Odeyingbo, who returns after pacing the squad with 12 tackles for loss last fall. Senior linebackers Mintze (4.5 sacks) and Dimitri Moore (99 tackles) return and led the Commodores in sacks and tackles, respectively, in 2019.

• Odeyingbo (second team), Mintze (third team) and Moore (third team) were all named Preseason All-SEC as chosen by the league’s head coaches.

• Vanderbilt chose seven team captains for the 2020 campaign: Odeyingbo, Hamilton, Mintze, Johnson, junior defensive back Camden Coleman, center Grant Miller and punter Harrison Smith.