If history repeats itself, Vanderbilt will be one step closer to its first winning season since 2013 when it faces visiting Hawaii on Saturday in the season opener for both teams.
The teams kicked off the season against each other a year ago when the Commodores amassed 601 yards of total offense en route to a 63-10 drubbing of the Rainbow Warriors. Vanderbilt outscored Hawaii 45-0 in the second half of that game.
But Vanderbilt coach Clark Lea knows his team can’t take Hawaii lightly based on last season’s result.
“We’re a team that cannot take anything for granted,” Lea said. “The one thing that we’ve harped on in here is we made great progress from Year 1 to Year 2 here, this Hawaii team will, too.
“I’ve got a ton of respect for the Hawaii football program. These guys are tough, they’re prideful.”
After finishing last season as the starting quarterback, AJ Swann will again be under center for the Commodores. He threw for 1,274 yards with 10 touchdowns and two interceptions during the 2022 campaign.
The Rainbow Warriors also stuck with their quarterback, as Brayden Schager is looking to build off a season in which he racked up 2,348 passing yards to go along with 13 TDs and 10 interceptions.
Running back Tylan Hines, who rushed for 634 yards and two scores as a true freshman, will also be back in the mix for coach Timmy Chang.
“They’re getting better,” Chang said of Schager and Hines. “We’re young. … Schager, he’s gonna be a junior, Tylan, he’s gonna be a sophomore. The receivers, they all are young.
“There’s a lot of good things that they’ve done right, there’s a lot of good things they’ve done wrong. Us correcting it, having that mentality to just continue to get better.”
Both teams had losing records last season, with Vanderbilt going 5-7 and Hawaii finishing at 3-10.
Saturday marks just the second all-time meeting between the teams following last year’s blowout.
–Field Level Media