Mike_Wright.jpeg

Mike Wright

Every week, the Nashville Post/Williamson Home Page will have a roundup of the weekend's Nashville-area college football games, including top performers and takeaways, as well as updates from around the state and on local players.

Let's take a look back at the packed Labor Day weekend slate from week 1 of the college football season. 

Vanderbilt improves to 2-0 thanks to Wright's big outing

Vanderbilt hasn't started out a season 2-0 since 2018, and the 'Dores won all of two games total in Clark Lea's debut campaign in 2021, but Saturday's 42-31 win over Elon didn't exactly inspire a ton of confidence. 

Elon racked up nearly 500 yards of offense and scored 21 second-half points. A win is a win, but giving up 496 yards to an FCS team when there is a schedule full of SEC offenses coming down the pike is worrisome.

However, there's plenty to be excited about when it comes to junior quarterback Mike Wright. After scoring four touchdowns against Hawaii in the week 0 season opener, Wright broke a Vanderbilt record by scoring six touchdowns against Elon.

Vanderbilt will need a performance like that out of Wright if Vanderbilt is going to compete with No. 22 Wake Forest at home next Saturday. It was also nice to see Jayden McGowan break out with an SEC Freshman of the Week performance with four catches for 118 yards and a touchdown. 

Austin Peay earns first win of '22 in dominant fashion

The Govs conducted a wire-to-wire 63-0 blowout win over Presbyterian on Saturday to complete the first shutout of the Scotty Walden head coaching era. 

MTSU transfer Mike DiLiello compiled five touchdowns in his second start at quarterback for APSU, going 18-27 with 254 yards and four touchdowns through the air and another on the ground. 

Trey Goodman and Joshua DeCambre each caught two scores, Jevon Jackson was named ASUN Freshman of the Week after carrying 24 times for 167 yards and a touchdown, and outgained Presbyterian 609 to 219.

TSU nearly pulls off upset at No. 12 Eastern Washington 

The Tigers have a brutal three-game stretch to open the 2022 season, and TSU showed they're ready for the top-level competition with a last-minute loss at No. 12 Eastern Washington on Saturday.

Despite out-gaining EWU 547 to 474, including a 290 to 126 advantage on the ground, the Tigers 10-point fourth-quarter comeback fell just short as the Eagles scored with just 2:39 left to play.

Former Austin Peay star Draylen Ellis went for 17-27 with 257 yards, two touchdowns, and one pick through the air with 82 rushing yards and a score in his first outing under center for TSU.

Cane Ridge alum Devon Starling was named the OVC Co-Offensive Player of the Year despite the loss thanks to a 230-total yard, one-touchdown performance. 

UT takes care of business against out-matched Ball State 

The Vols opened up the season with a business-like 59-10 blowout of Ball State on Thursday. Seven different Vols scored touchdowns as Tennessee led 38-0 at the end of the first half and piled up more than 500 yards of offense. 

Quarterback Hendon Hooker picked up where he left off in 2021, completing 18 of 25 passes, compiling 233 total yards and scoring four total touchdowns (two passing and two rushing). 

Hooker's second touchdown went to Brentwood alum Walker Merrill. It was the wide receiver's first-career touchdown in the Orange and White. 

The Vols will have a much tougher opponent next week as they travel to Pittsburgh to take on the No. 17-ranked Panthers in one of the week's more intriguing matchups.  

MT suffers blowout loss to FBS-debuting James Madison 

It was a tough start to the season for the Blue Raiders who had the misfortunate of taking on a fired up James Madison program hungry to prove itself in its FBS debut. 

The Dukes jumped out to a 37-0 lead before MTSU scored for the first time, eventually finishing the game with a 44-7 advantage. JMU out-gained the Blue Raiders a whopping 548 yards to 119. 

Sixth-year senior Chase Cunningham went 18-32 for 110 yards and one touchdown at quarterback for MTSU.