By Tyler Martin
Special to The Tuscaloosa News

Derek Mason is entering his sixth season as Vanderbilt head coach and still searching for his first winning season.

The Commodores finished 6-7 in 2018, which ended in a Texas Bowl loss to Baylor. Seven starters return on offense, which include seniors running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn, tight end Jared Pinkney, and wide receiver Kalija Lipscomb. Vaughn finished last year with 1,244 yards and 12 touchdowns in route to winning SEC Newcomer of the Year.

“Ke’Shawn proved, when he stepped on the field last year, that he’s one of the best backs in the country,” Mason said at SEC Media Days this summer. “He’s a three-dimensional running back who can run, block, and catch. I mean, he can do it all.”

Losing the school’s all-time passing leader, quarterback Kyle Shurmur, will not help. Junior Mo Hasan and graduate transfer Riley Neal will battle it out for the starting job. Juniors Cole Clemens and Devin Cochran are the only two offensive line starters returning.

Only four starters return from a defense that ranked 94th in sacks per game and 85th in pass defense. Sophomore linebacker Dimitri Moore and junior defensive tackle Dayo Odeyingbo will be expected to step up and led this group of inexperienced Commodores. Mason believes that this team’s success is dependent on the line of scrimmage.

“Our team success will be determined by the performance of our offensive and defensive fronts,” Mason said. “I believe we’re better on both sides of the ball, but it’s time for the offensive line, defensive line and line backing corps to help carry this ball club in 2019.”


2018 record: 6-7 (3-5 SEC/ 6th in SEC East)
All-time SEC championships: None
All-time bowl appearances: 9

2018 results
Sept. 1 vs. Middle Tennessee State W 35-7
Sept. 8 vs. Nevada W 41-10
Sept. 15 at. Notre Dame L 17-22
Sept. 22 vs. South Carolina L 14-37
Sept. 29 vs. Tennessee State W 31-27
Oct. 6 at. Georgia L 13-41
Oct. 13 vs. Florida L 27-37
Oct. 20 at. Kentucky L 7-14
Oct. 27 at. Arkansas W 45-31
Nov. 10 at Missouri L 28-33
Nov. 17 vs. Ole Miss W 36-29 (OT)
Nov. 24 vs. Tennessee W 38-13

Starters returning: 14 Offense: 7 Defense: 4 Specialty: 3
Starters lost: 12 Offense: 4 Defense: 7 Specialty: 1
Returning offensive starters: Ke’Shawn Vaughn (RB. SR), Kalija Lipscomb (WR. SR), Jared Pinkney (TE. SR), Chris Pierce (WR. JR), C.J. Bolar (WR. SO), Devin Cochran (OL. JR), Cole Clemens (OL. JR),
Returning defensive starters: Dayo Odeyingbo (DL. JR), Drew Birchmeier (DL. JR), Cameron Tidd, Dimitri Moore (LB. SO)

Returning statistical leaders
Rushing Att Yards Avg TD
Ke’Shawn Vaughn 157 1244 7.9 12
Passing Att Yards Avg TD
Mo Hasan 4-6 38 6.3 0
Receiving Att Yards Avg TD
Kalija Lipscomb 87 916 10.5 9
Tackles Total Int Sack TFL
Dimitri Moore 84 0 1 3.5

2019 schedule
Aug. 31 vs. Georgia
Sept. 7 at. Purdue
Sept. 21 vs. LSU
Sept. 28 vs. Northern Illinois
Oct. 5 at. Ole Miss
Oct. 12 vs. UNLV
Oct. 19 vs. Missouri
Nov. 2 at. South Carolina
Nov. 9 at. Florida
Nov. 16 vs. Kentucky
Nov. 23 vs. ETSU
Nov. 30 at. Tennessee