Vanderbilt football vs. East Tennessee State: Time, TV schedule, game preview, score

Commodores battle Buccaneers

Teammates congratulate Josh Crawford #6 of the Vanderbilt Commodores after scoring his first career touchdown as a Commodore against the Nevada Wolf Pack during the second half at Vanderbilt Stadium on September 8, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason has been given a vote of confidence by the athletic department and he will try to guide his team to a solid finish, beginning with a home finale against East Tennessee State of the FCS on Saturday. Mason is 26-46 in six years at the helm in Nashville and all eight of his team's losses this year have been by at least 17 points, but the administration is committed to some level of continuity and will stick with Mason in 2020.

TV: 3:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network Alternate. LINE: No Line

"We have had 50 years of routine kick-the-can coaching changes without accompanying the fundamental underlying change," athletic director Malcolm Turner told The Tennessean. "And out of respect for those who truly support Vanderbilt football and with the focus on building a successful and sustainable football program, this is a cycle that we really need to break." The Commodores were outgained 528-198 in a 38-14 loss to Kentucky last Saturday to fall to 2-4 at home. They hope to finish strong with a win over the Buccaneers this week and then a visit next Saturday to in-state rival Tennessee, a team Mason has defeated three straight times. East Tennessee State is in last place in the Southern Conference but is coming off its only league win, a 38-33 triumph over Mercer last Saturday.


The Buccaneers are led by sophomore running back Quay Holmes, who ran for a school-record 255 yards and scored three times in last week’s win. He ranks second in the Southern Conference with 1,133 yards on the season and five of his seven TDs have come in the last two weeks. Tyler Riddell took most of the snaps against Mercer and figures to share duties with fellow freshman Trey Mitchell, who has 11 scoring passes on the year.


The Commodores rank last in the SEC by a wide margin in total offense (286.3 yards per game), scoring offense (15.0 points) and total defense (471.9 yards), a recipe for disaster most weekends. They went up 14-3 early on Kentucky with a five-yard TD run by senior running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn and a 67-yard fumble return by sophomore defensive back Allan George, but the Wildcats scored the next 35 points in a one-sided affair. “This is a game of momentum and I thought we created some early,” Mason told the media. “But today we just got out-physicaled on both sides of the ball up front and we lost the line of scrimmage. Didn’t tackle very well. I thought they ran through tackles, through arm tackles and just extended drives and plays.”


1. Vaughn has 2,120 career rushing yards and needs 77 more to leap into fifth place on the school's all-time list.

2. The Commodores are averaging 81 passing yards during their three-game losing streak and senior QB Riley Neal threw for 74 and an interception against Kentucky.

3. This marks the first meeting between the programs.

PREDICTION: Vanderbilt 31, East Tennessee State 14