Vanderbilt Opens Season Thursday Night On ESPN - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Vanderbilt Opens Season Thursday Night On ESPN

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Vanderbilt Commodores will open their football season at home Thursday night in primetime on ESPN.

Kickoff against Ole Miss is set for 8:15 p.m. at Dudley Field.

Employees at Barnes and Noble on West End have had a hard time keeping the shelves stocked as fans gear up for the game.

To help everyone show the spirit for the home opener, the store is giving away rally towels to create a "black out" at Vanderbilt Stadium.

"Anyone who buys a Vanderbilt logo item will get a free rally towel. Show your support at the game, show your support for the 'Dores," said Barnes & Noble employee John Lasiter.

Barnes and Noble will give away rally towels through Friday.

Coach James Franklin is going into his third season at Vanderbilt after winning the Music City Bowl last year.

The Commodores believe they have an edge against the Rebels.

This is their second straight year helping open the college football season hosting a prime-time game. They lost a year ago 17-13 to then-No. 9 South Carolina, but Franklin counts 75 percent of his roster played in that game. Now 13 seniors are slotted to start Thursday.

"We're a veteran group, a senior-laden team, so that's really going to help us tremendously," Vanderbilt receiver Jordan Matthews.

Vanderbilt finished last season with a seven-game win streak that's not only the longest in the Southeastern Conference but tied for the fourth-longest nationally. The Commodores went 9-4 and beat North Carolina State in the Music City Bowl. Franklin lost quarterback Jordan Rodgers and the Commodores' all-time leading rusher in Zac Stacy, but he still has 14 starters back. The Commodores also have won five of the last six in this series.

(The Associated Press Contributed To This Report.)

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