Looking at Georgia’s 2019 opponents: Vanderbilt

Where: Vanderbilt Stadium, Nashville
When: 7:30 p.m., Aug. 31
TV, radio: SEC Network, News 95.5 and AM-750 WSB
Next game: Murray State

While Vanderbilt is preparing for its season opener against Georgia, a key theme for the Commodores is the competition to replace quarterback Kyle Shurmur.

Shumur left Vanderbilt as the Commodores’ all-time leader in passing yards (8,865). Last season, he completed 62.6 percent of his passes and threw for 24 touchdowns compared with six interceptions, 406 attempts.

Senior Riley Neal, a transfer from Ball State, and Deuce Wallace are battling to replace Shumur. Neal passed for 1,917 yards last season (194-of-335, 59.7%, 11 touchdowns, four interceptions), while Wallace was suspended for the season for violating a university policy.

Big 3 on offense

Whether Neal or Wallace wins the quarterback competition, he’ll have three dynamic playmakers to work with: running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn, wide receiver Kalija Lipscomb and tight end Jared Pinkney. Each was chosen second-team preseason All-SEC by voters at the SEC Media Days this year.

Tough early schedule

Vanderbilt’s first three games are against Power 5 schools: Georgia, Purdue and LSU. Georgia ranks No. 3 in the preseason coaches poll and projects to occupy that spot in the AP media poll. Purdue defeated three ranked teams last season, possible evidence of a resurgence coming under coach Jeff Brohm. The Boilermakers signed a recruiting class ranked No. 25 in the nation in the 247Sports Composite. LSU ranks sixth in the coaches poll and projects as a preseason top-10 team in the media vote.

Three consecutive victories against Tennessee

Vandy defeated Tennessee, 38-13, last season, the Commodores’ third consecutive victory against the Volunteers. Vandy hadn’t accomplish that feat since 1923 and 1925-26.

Vanderbilt’s Georgians

The Commodores’ biggest name from Georgia is one of the better players on the team: tight end Jared Pinkney. He’s a senior from Norcross and Norcross High School. There are nine other players from Georgia on the Commodores’ roster. They are: Scott Meyer, a senior safety (Alpharetta/Blessed Trinity Catholic HS), Amir Abdur-Rahman, a sophomore wide receiver (Atlanta/Mays), Ben Bresnahan, a redshirt freshman tight end (Cumming/West Forsyth), Jonathan Stewart, a sophomore offensive lineman (Lawrenceville/Mountain View), Tre' Douglas, a redshirt freshman defensive back (McDonough/Eagle’s Landing Christian), Devin Cochran, a junior offensive lineman (Norcross/Greater Atlanta Christian), Keyon Brooks, a freshman running back (Powder Springs/Kennesaw Mountain), Elijah Hamilton, a junior defensive back (Roswell/Blessed Trinity Catholic) and Tae Daley, a junior defensive back (Warner Robins/Northside).

Notable about the rivalry

For the first time since 1956 Georgia and Vandy are meeting in the season opener for each team. That year Vandy won 14-0. The teams also opened their seasons against each other in 1952, a game Georgia won 19-7. Both games also took place in Nashville.

The last time against Georgia

Georgia defeated Vandy, 41-13, on Oct. 6, 2018, at Sanford Stadium. The victory kept the Bulldogs undefeated at 6-0 on their way to an 11-3 overall record. Also, Kirby Smart is 2-1 against the Commodores as Georgia's head coach. The Bulldogs lost to Vandy 17-16 in Athens in 2016 and won the past two games by a combined score of 83-27.

Georgia trivia

Georgia’s most frequent season-opening opponent is a tie between Clemson and Mercer. Georgia played Clemson to open the season from 1897-1899, 1903, 1946, 1982, 2002-03 and 2013-14. Mercer was the foe in 1892 (the Bulldogs’ first game ever), 1921, 1923-26, 1928, 1935-36 and 1941.