Hawaii heads to Vanderbilt as both teams open their seasons in a stadium under construction

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Hawaii at Vanderbilt, Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET (SEC Network)

Line: Vanderbilt by 17 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

Series record: Vanderbilt leads 1-0.


Vanderbilt can open with a victory for a second straight season at Hawaii's expense. The Commodores gave coach Clark Lea a 63-10 rout in Hawaii a year ago. Now Vanderbilt kicks off Lea's third season with FirstBank Stadium literally a construction zone beyond each end zone. Attendance will be 28,500 in what already was the Southeastern Conference's smallest stadium. Hawaii is paying back its home-and-home series with the SEC's lone private university.


Managing the clock. Hawaii uses the run-and-shoot offense coach Timmy Chang used when he played for the Rainbow Warriors. Vanderbilt ranked 21st nationally and fourth in the SEC last season, holding the ball for 32 minutes, 3 seconds per game. Hawaii averaged just 28 minutes of possession a game last season, good for 108th nationally.


Hawaii: QB Brayden Schager has a year of experience running the run-and-shoot. The junior should be more comfortable after completing 55.3% of his passes for 2,348 yards with 13 TDs and 10 interceptions last season.

Vanderbilt: WR Will Sheppard ranked second in the SEC last season with nine touchdown catches. He had three games with more than one TD reception.


Hawaii is opening on the road for only the fifth time against an SEC program and first since losing 56-10 at Florida in 2008. ... Hawaii is 3-10-1 all-time against current SEC teams, including 0-4 on the road. ... Vanderbilt more than doubled its win total in Lea’s second season, going 5-7 last season. The Commodores are trying to build on a finish where they won both their first SEC road game and consecutive league games since 2018. ... Vanderbilt led the SEC by scoring four TDs on defense or special teams last season. ... Vanderbilt ranked 12th nationally and second in the SEC with only six interceptions thrown last season. ... The Commodores ranked fourth in the SEC and 26th nationally allowing only 1.25 sacks per game last season. ... Lea and Chang are among 18 FBS coaches at their alma maters. ... Hawaii WR Karsyn Pupunu lost an uncle, aunt and two cousins in the Maui wildfire. DB Kimo Holo Holt-Mossman's childhood home was destroyed in the fires.


AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll