The first game of the Clark Lea era was wont to forget as the Vanderbilt Commodores took an early 3-0 lead over East Tennessee State before seeing the Buccaneers rattle off 23 unanswered points in a 23-3 defeat.
By Steve Wright
Next up the ‘Dores travel out to Fort Collins to face a Rams team that was outclassed 42-23 by South Dakota State in their opener. Here are the three keys:
1 – Regain confidence
You don’t see many Week 2 games with 0-1 FBS schools that both lost to FCS opponents in Week 1. That is what we have here, however, and one of the biggest keys will be who reacts better to get rid of that early season hangover. Colorado State looked good at times against the Jackrabbits – the better of the two losses – while Vandy struggled after a decent start to get anything going on offense. The ‘Dores need to come out and get some momentum early.
Win the turnover battle
One of the reasons that South Dakota State was able to hang 43 points on an experienced Colorado State squad was because they won the turnover battle. The Rams finished -2 on the day, suggesting that Vanderbilt should have the ability to take the ball away on defense. The other side of this is that the Ken Seals-led offense has to be efficient and minimize mistakes and Seals did have some good moments last weekend. Play safe and keep this one close and the ‘Dores can win late.
Stop Terry McBride
The star of the show for Colorado State on offense last week was tight end Terry McBride. The offense ran through McBride for large chunks of the game and he ended up with 13 catches for 113 yards. The Rams like to use McBride as a safety blanket, hitting him for short and intermediate gains before going deep to another wide receiver. They did hit big plays against the Jackrabbits – something the Commodores need to be aware of – but shutting down McBride will force the Rams into extra punting situations without his chain-moving receptions.