Vanderbilt’s 2-0 start turned heads in the college football community, but the Commodores aren’t quite ready to hang with Top 25 teams. Clark Lea’s squad had early momentum, but ultimately, Wake Forest cruised to a 45-25 victory in Nashville.

There’s a checklist of things you look for in a college football upset, and Vanderbilt was unable to make those things happen. Wake Forest had the better quarterback play, produced more big plays, won the turnover battle and led in time of possession.

Wake Forest got star QB Sam Hartman back and he shined in his 2022 debut, going 18-of-27 passing for 300 yards and 4 touchdowns with no interceptions. Vanderbilt starting QB Mike Wright struggled (8-of-15 passing, 35 yards; 8 rushes 17 yards). Lea decided to give AJ Swann a chance in the second half.

On the bright side for the Dores, Swann impressed in relief of Wright in the second half. Swann outplayed Wright on Saturday. It will be interesting to see if he becomes the Commodores’ QB1 moving forward.

Vanderbilt got off to a strong start. The Commodores forced Wake Forest to punt on its first drive. Vandy responded with an 8-play, 36-yard drive to set up a field goal and take a 3-0.

Wake Forest then made it all the way to the Vanderbilt 1-yard line on the next drive. The Demon Deacons went for it on 4th-and-goal, but the Dores came up with the stop.

After getting the big stop, Vanderbilt surrendered momentum. Wright forced a throw on 3rd-and-7 from the VU 17-yard line, resulting in an interception that was returned for Wake Forest’s first touchdown.

It was the start of a 3-score spurt over 2 minutes, 14 seconds for the Demon Deacons. Wake Forest made it 21-3 early in the second quarter. It was 21-10 at the break and the Demon Deacons controlled the second half.