Vanderbilt heads west to Las Vegas this Saturday to take on UNLV for the second time in program history. The Commodores hosted the Rebels in Nashville in 2019, with the visitors winning the first-ever meeting between the two schools, 34-10. Saturday’s game will mark Vandy’s first time playing in the state of Nevada.
• After a 2-0 start to the 2023 season, Vanderbilt dropped its first road contest Saturday at Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons won 36- 20 despite the Vanderbilt offense putting up 423 yards. Will Sheppard hauled in a pair of touchdown catches for the third consecutive game to start the season and AJ Swann passed for more than 300 yards for the first time in his career.
• Will Sheppard moved into sixth in program history with his 18th and 19th career touchdown receptions Saturday at Wake Forest. Sheppard finished the day with eight catches for 87 yards. He has tallied six or more catches in four consecutive games dating back to last season. His six touchdowns this season leads all FBS receivers.
• Sophomore slinger AJ Swann has thrown for eight touchdowns this season to lead the SEC and rank fourth among FBS quarterbacks. After making his ninth collegiate start at Wake Forest last Saturday, Swann has now thrown for three or more touchdowns three times. His 766 passing yards this season are fifth-most among FBS quarterbacks.
• Freshman wide receiver London Humphreys was named the SEC Freshman of the Week after totaling 109 yards and a touchdown on four receptions at Wake Forest. Humphreys is first in the SEC and fourth nationally among freshmen in total receiving yards this season.
• Will Sheppard is the first Vanderbilt player since at least 1996 to record three consecutive games with two or more touchdown receptions. He is the fifth player in the SEC to record three straight games with multiple touchdown receptions in the same season since 2019, joining Jalin Hyatt (Tennessee), DeVonta Smith (Alabama), Terrace Marshall Jr. (LSU) and Ja’Marr Chase (LSU). Across all of FBS, Sheppard is the ninth player to record three straight games with multiple touchdown receptions in the same season.
• Vanderbilt’s special teams rank 21st in the nation per ESPN’s FPI. The unit has produced an efficiency grade of 77.7. In the opener against Hawai’i, Vandy had a 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, a 27-yard punt return, averaged 53.7 yards on three punts with a long of 71 yards, notched two touchbacks on kickoffs and made all three PATs. Against Alabama A&M, Vandy blocked two punts, including one for a safety, produced a long punt return of 39 yards, a long kickoff return of 29 yards, made all six point-after attempts and made its lone field goal attempt of the year from 23 yards. Matthew Hayball punted twice at Wake Forest for 111 yards, an average of 55.5 yards per punt. Vanderbilt’s special teams units has scored points in three of the last five games.