NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Patton Robinette will be the starting quarterback next Thursday when Vanderbilt opens its season against Temple.
In announcing Robinette as the opening-game starter, Head Coach Derek Mason said the sophomore and three-game starter from a year ago has shown consistent improvement during the summer months and in the team's preseason camp.
Robinette earned the starting nod after an intense competition with redshirt freshman Johnny McCrary, LSU transfer Stephen Rivers, and incoming freshmen prospects Wade Freebeck and Shawn Stankavage.
"I'm excited for Patton as we prepare this team for the season opener next Thursday," Mason said. "Patton has really made strides and consistently improved from the spring to now. I believe he has worked to earn this opportunity."
The coach also praised the effort and commitment from McCrary and Rivers. "We have three solid guys at the position now, along with the talented freshmen. Johnny and Stephen are very capable quarterbacks and both worked hard to make a strong case for the starting role. They made this a difficult decision," Mason said.
Robinette, a top scholar-athlete from Maryville, Tenn., is the most experienced of the trio. His playing time as a redshirt freshman increased significantly during the seventh game of the 2013 season when Austyn Carta-Samuels was injured against Georgia.
Robinette responded positively to the challenge, going 9-of-15 for 107 yards in the second half and directing the Commodores to 17 fourth-quarter points in an eventual 31-27 victory over the Bulldogs.
Later in the season, Robinette guided Vanderbilt to its first victory over Florida in Gainesville since 1945 and a win over Houston in the 2014 BBVA Compass Bowl. He also produced one of the team's most remarkable plays of the year - scoring the deciding touchdown at Tennessee on a 5-yard run with seconds left on the clock.
In 2013, Robinette completed 46 of 88 passes for 642 yards and four touchdowns. He also had 214 yards and seven touchdowns on 71 rushes.
McCrary, from Decatur, Ga., has shown flashes as a dual-threat quarterback during spring drills and preseason camp.
Rivers, a prototype drop-back passer from Athens, Ala., transferred to the Commodore program from LSU where he played behind two-year starter and current Tennessee Titans quarterback Zach Mettenberger.
The Commodores, coming off consecutive 9-4 seasons and postseason bowl victories, will host Temple in Vanderbilt Stadium. Kickoff next Thursday is 8:15 p.m. CT.
Season tickets for the Commodores' eight-game home schedule are available, starting at $181. For more information, call the ticket office during regular business hours at (615) 322-4653 or go online.