Vanderbilt is looking to go to back-to-back bowl games for the first time since 2013, and the ‘Dores are off to a quality start. After dismantling both MTSU and Alabama A&M, the ‘Dores (2-0) turn their attention to their toughest test to this point in the season.
The No. 18 Kansas State Wildcats (2-0) come to Nashville, as the contest shapes up to be a highlighted matchup on Saturday throughout the country.
Vanderbilt begins a gauntlet of Kansas State, Alabama, at Florida, and Georgia throughout the next month of the season. To other respective fan bases and viewers around the country, most believe Vandy does not stand a chance in any of those games despite beating Georgia, along with a narrow six-point loss to Florida last season.
However, Derek Mason’s bunch and the Vanderbilt fan base embrace the underdog mentality, because throughout Mason’s tenure the 2017 team looks to be his most complete on both sides of the ball.
Kyle Shurmur coming into his own
When people look at a football team, one of the first questions that most ask is, who is the Quarterback?
For Vanderbilt, it’s Junior Kyle Shurmur, who looks to be coming into his own through two games thus far.
Kyle Shurmur attended the Manning Passing Academy during the summer, and thus far it’s paying dividends.
In his first full year as the starter during his sophomore season, Shurmur completed just an average of 45 percent of his passes against a struggling MTSU and South Carolina defense through the first two games last season.
In addition, Shurmur struggled in SEC games against Florida (36%) and Georgia, (38.9%) while also throwing two interceptions against Missouri.
Last season, Shurmur did not throw his seventh touchdown pass until a mid-November game against Ole Miss, the last game before the regular season finale victory against Tennessee.
However, so far Kyle Shurmur looks more confident as he matched that total through two games thus far against the same Blue Raider defense, in addition to Alabama A&M.
To non-Vanderbilt fans maybe Shurmur will revert when tougher competition rolls around. But, signs of the old Kyle Shurmur might be put to rest, as he looks like the quarterback that finished the regular season on a strong note against Ole Miss and Tennessee.
For Shurmur and the ‘Dores, their first big test comes this Saturday night inside Vanderbilt Stadium.
Saturday may as well be the biggest spotlight for Derek Mason and his team, as the ‘Dores could inch towards being solidified in the AP Top 25 for the first time since James Franklin roamed the sidelines at Vanderbilt.
This season feels special, but it’s something you can’t put your finger on. The 2017 season feels unlike any when Franklin was around.
Kyle Shurmur and the rest of the ‘Dores can set the bar for the season and have the college football world on notice – and perhaps that bar may be higher than some may think.
Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m.