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AP Photo by Mark Humphrey / Vanderbilt football coach Clark Lea stands with his players as they sing the school's alma mater after last Saturday night's 23-3 loss to East Tennessee State in Nashville.

At least Vanderbilt has company.

The Commodores were one of six Football Bowl Subdivision programs to get spanked last weekend by a Football Championship Subdivision member. The biggest of the surprises was Montana's 13-7 topping of No. 20 Washington, while Vanderbilt endured the most lopsided loss with its 23-3 collapse against visiting East Tennessee State University.

"Obviously it was a disappointing result, and there is a lot of learning from that," Vanderbilt first-year coach Clark Lea said Wednesday. "We have the challenge of now going on the road to play Colorado State, which is a team also coming off a disappointing result. We'll need to quickly redirect ourselves from Saturday and come out with a more detailed plan for execution and a better heartbeat in the middle of the game when we face adversity.

"Those have been the focuses this week to this point. I've been pleased with the response, but I still feel like there is room for us to grow."

Colorado State lost to South Dakota State 43-24 last Friday, but the Jackrabbits have made nine consecutive FCS playoff trips, reached three of the past four semifinals and advanced to last season's championship game. ETSU doesn't exactly have the same recent history, not even fielding a team from 2004 to 2014.

Vanderbilt coaching debuts have suddenly become brutal, as Derek Mason's inaugural game guiding the Commodores was a 37-7 home loss to Temple in 2014. That seemed to wipe the success of predecessor James Franklin's consecutive 9-4 seasons away overnight, but Mason led Vandy to bowl games in 2016 and 2018 and to three consecutive wins over Tennessee from 2016-18.

Those who bet on the Commodores not winning three games in Lea's debut year might already be spending that money, and Lea certainly isn't feeling like he thought he would 60 minutes into his reign.

"Frustrated, I think, is a good way to put it," Lea said. "We have clarity in the fact that we feel like Saturday was frustrating but also indicative of where we are. We need to really be connected with where this team is and where we need to go. You know the outcomes you want and you understand the opportunities you have, but how do you bridge the opportunities to the outcomes?

"That's why we came here. We're frustrated, but we're not defeated."

 

Daniels in doubt?

Georgia quarterback JT Daniels is reportedly nursing an injury to his midsection that has him questionable for Saturday's home opener against the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

If Daniels is unable to play, the likely starter would be redshirt freshman Carson Beck. The 6-foot-4, 215-pounder from Jacksonville, Florida, appeared in the fourth quarter of last season's 49-14 win at Missouri.

"JT and Carson both take reps every week and every day," redshirt freshman receiver Ladd McConkey said Wednesday night on a Zoom call. "We're confident in both of them. They both have good arm strength, so we're confident in either way that goes. All our quarterbacks were recruited here for a reason and came here for a reason. Coaches will make the right decision, and whatever happens, we'll be ready."

Said redshirt sophomore guard Warren McClendon: "JT is coming in there taking reps, and Carson comes in there, too, and takes reps. I would think we would run the same offensive scheme that we already have."

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AP photo by Butch Dill / Bryan Harsin, center, made his debut as Auburn football coach with a lopsided win against Akron last weekend. The Tigers host Alabama State on Saturday.

Pasquali's Pix

Alabama State at Auburn: The No. 25 Tigers have this opening feast of Akron and Alabama State, but a trip to No. 11 Penn State looms next week, and there are games down the road against the top-five trio of Alabama, Georgia and Texas A&M. Tigers 59, Hornets 14.

Pittsburgh at Tennessee: At least these aren't the 1980 Panthers coming back to Neyland Stadium. That team had four eventual Pro Football Hall of Famers — quarterback Dan Marino, center Russ Grimm, tackle Jimbo Covert and linebacker Rickey Jackson — and its top player was defensive end Hugh Green, who finished as that season's Heisman Trophy runner-up. Panthers 27, Volunteers 20.

Kennesaw State at Georgia Tech: These two schools agreed to this matchup in 2014, a year before Kennesaw State fielded its first team. Yellow Jackets 38, Owls 19.

UAB at Georgia: The Blazers are a remarkable 35-16 since bringing back football in 2017 after a two-year hiatus. Bulldogs 34, Blazers 7.

Mercer at Alabama: Not the best stat for college football parity: Alabama has been ranked No. 1 in 99 Associated Press polls under Nick Saban, with Clemson next on that list with 23. Crimson Tide 57, Bears 7.

Texas at Arkansas: This game will not count in the Southeastern Conference standings, at least not for now. Longhorns 30, Razorbacks 17.

UTC at North Alabama: The Mocs have played in Auburn, Birmingham and Tuscaloosa before. Now they get to experience Florence. Mocs 35, Lions 24.

Missouri at Kentucky: Judging by the opening weekend, the Wildcats may be the SEC's most successful portal masters, with quarterback Will Levis (Penn State), receiver Wan'Dale Robinson (Nebraska), offensive tackle Dare Rosenthal (LSU) and inside linebacker Jacquez Jones (Ole Miss) instantly upgrading the roster. Wildcats 31, Tigers 24.

Other picks:

Florida 45, South Florida 12

South Carolina 22, East Carolina 19

Texas A&M 40, Colorado 21

N.C. State 29, Mississippi State 24

Ole Miss 48, Austin Peay 15

LSU 63, McNeese State 16

Colorado State 37, Vanderbilt 20

Duke 34, North Carolina A&T 17

Virginia 31, Illinois 28

Wake Forest 56, Norfolk State 3

Virginia Tech 24, MTSU 9

Notre Dame 35, Toledo 10

Clemson 66, S.C. State 7

Memphis 30, Arkansas St. 23

North Carolina 41, Georgia State 6

Florida State 49, Jacksonville State 14

Ohio State 33, Oregon 22

Last week:

Winners — 18

Sissy blue shirts — 7

Pasquali is 18-7 (72.0%) overall this season.

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524. Follow him on Twitter @DavidSPaschall.

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