There were a lot of people who didn’t see this one coming, although I can guarantee you that the rest of the SEC East is sitting up and taking notice.
Coming into their Week 3 game against 18th-ranked Kansas State, Vanderbilt was somewhere between a 4-6-point underdog at home. After 60 minutes Saturday night, Vandy proclaimed they could be a force to be reckoned with in conference play as a stifling defense played a huge role in dropping the Wildcats by the score of 14-7.
The Commodores took a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter, with the Wildcats tying it up very early in the second. That 7-7 score would stay static for the next 36 minutes or so of game time until quarterback Kyle Shurmur‘s two-yard touchdown run (of course) proved to be the difference in the game.
K-State had a chance to tie the game late, but quarterback Jesse Ertz was stopped a yard short on a fourth-and-8 that originated from the Vandy 19-yard line.
Neither team did much offensively, with the Wildcats accounting for 277 yards of offense to the Commodores’ 270. Vandy averaged 4.9 yards per play, K-State 4.4.
With the win, Vandy is 3-0 to start the season for the first time since 2011, James Franklin‘s first of three with the program. This also marks the first time since 1946, a 7-0 win over No. 20 North Carolina State, that Vandy has beaten a ranked non-conference opponent.
With the struggles of Florida and Tennessee, Vandy is slowly becoming the trendy pick to challenge Georgia for SEC East supremacy. Buyer beware on that front, though, as they will face No. 1 Alabama (home), No. 24 Florida (road), No. 13 Georgia (home) and undefeated Ole Miss (road) the next four weeks.
For now, though, the Commodores will bask in the glow of the biggest win, outside of last year’s upending of No.24 Tennessee, of Derek Mason‘s time in Nashville.