Mond leads No. 10 Texas A&M in opener against Vanderbilt

Vanderbilt at No. 10 Texas A&M, Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET (SECN Alt).

Line: Texas A&M by 30 1/2.

Series record: Texas A&M 2-0.

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

The Aggies hope to work out some kinks and play a clean game in the opener in what is their only preparation before a trip to No. 2 Alabama next week followed by a visit from fifth-ranked Florida on Oct. 10.

KEY MATCHUP

Texas A&M’s veteran defense vs. Vanderbilt’s new quarterback. Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason wouldn’t say this week who will start at QB, but none of his options have ever thrown a pass in an FBS game. Mason’s options include freshmen Ken Seals and Mike Wright and junior college transfers Danny Clark and Jeremy Moussa. All but one of A&M’s starters on defense are upperclassmen.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Vanderbilt: LB Dimitri Moore. The team’s leading tackler will play this season after changing his mind about opting out because of concerns about COVID-19. Moore, who is a Butkus Award candidate, had 99 tackles last season to rank fourth in the Southeastern Conference.

Texas A&M: QB Kellen Mond. While the Commodores will have a rookie signal-caller on Saturday, the Aggies have a four-year starter in Mond. He has 7,379 yards passing and 1,314 yards rushing in 37 career games to join 2012 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel as the only players in school history to surpass 7,000 yards passing and 1,000 yards rushing.

FACTS & FIGURES

Vanderbilt last upset a ranked team on Sept. 16, 2017, beating No. 18 Kansas State. … This is Vanderbilt’s latest opener since 1959 when the Commodores opened on Sept. 26 at Georgia. … The crowd at Kyle Field on Saturday will be limited to about 25% of the 102,733-seat capacity because of the coronavirus. … Texas A&M has won seven straight home openers. … The Aggies are 11-3 at home under coach Jimbo Fisher. … Mond has had at least one TD pass and one rushing touchdown in 15 games in his career… Sophomore Isaiah Spiller needs 54 yards rushing to reach 1,000 for his career. … Senior OT Carson Green is expected to make his team-leading 30th straight start on Saturday. … Last season’s top receiver Jhamon Ausbon and starting linebacker Anthony Hines both opted out of the season.

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