The Vanderbilt Commodores (3-8, 0-7 SEC) host the Tennessee Volunteers (5-6, 2-5) on Saturday at Vanderbilt Stadium. The Commodores are coming off a 51-0 loss to No. 4 Mississippi State, their worst loss since 1994. The Vols look to secure bowl eligibility for the first time since 2010.

Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason reflected on the rivalry during his weekly press conference Monday.

“It’s a big deal because it’s where you live,” Mason said. “Vanderbilt’s won the last two games so there’s added pressure for that group out east to win and get bowl eligible. There are things riding on this game so there’s a lot to play for. There’s a lot behind it and in front of it. When you talk about recruiting and everything else, there’s a lot riding on on this game. Let’s make it about what it is and push all the chips in and let’s go play. I’ve tried to educate myself on the rivalry. I’ve talked to some past players and guys that are still here about what this game means to them.

“You talk about all the pageantry of this game, but when the ball gets kicked off there are two teams that have to go out and play. Whatever else is there you have to block out and focus on everything that is around and play your football game. I thought we learned something this past week in coming out of that Mississippi State environment in terms of what we need to do and what we need to be about. This is going to be a fun game to play.”

In recent years, Vanderbilt has posed as a growing threat to Tennessee on the recruiting trail. Mason reflected on how the matchup effects in-state recruiting between the two programs.

“It’s always important to recruit your backyard. That’s always first and foremost. We aren’t going to sacrifice our backyard for going national. We just have a national brand. Our brand is national so that’s what we recruit, but we’ve done a good job of looking at guys that fit who we are.”

Tennessee quarterback Joshua Dobbs has played well since making his season debut against Alabama in Week 9. The dual-threat sophomore has 985 yards, eight touchdowns and three interceptions on 85-of-136 passing, while rushing for 379 yards and four touchdowns on 70 attempts. Mason praised Dobbs’ abilities and decision making heading into Saturday’s game.

“Josh is talented and he’s bright,” Mason said. “He plays the game the way the game should be played and I think he’s been the savior to their season. When you look at how they have rebounded, Josh has been very key to that. He went into the Alabama game and put up points and since then he’s been on a run.

“He’s smart, has a strong arm, is athletic, makes few mistakes and he’s efficient. We’re playing against a good quarterback who has a great feel for his talents as well as the talent around him. They are a good football team.”