By TERESA M. WALKER
AP Sports Writer
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - James Franklin often talks about "Vanderbuild" when tweeting away as Vanderbilt's biggest salesman in addition to his job as coach. Now he's pushing Commodores' fans for another big step for this program.
Sell out the stadium Saturday night against Austin Peay.
Filling the Southeastern Conference's smallest stadium has been an issue for Vanderbilt, though the Commodores did sell out their season opener against Mississippi last week. That was their first sellout of the season opener since 1999 against Alabama and only the fourth sellout since Franklin was hired in December 2010.
Franklin called that real progress, noting Vanderbilt had only one sellout the entire decade before he arrived on campus.
"I think it would be a strong statement to this region, this conference and nationally if we can sell out a game like Austin Peay," Franklin said. "It's one thing when you play a SEC opponent. They're going to travel extremely well. It's another thing when you can sell out your own stadium and basically sell out with 40,000 of your own fans. That's really the next step we have to take."
Vanderbilt still had tickets available for the Commodores' first game against Austin Peay, a Football Championship Subdivision program just 50 miles away. This is a chance for the Commodores to bounce back after a wild 39-35 loss to Ole Miss.
The Governors had never played a team from the SEC until this season, and now they are playing their second straight team from the power conference after a 45-0 loss at Tennessee last week.
"We're going to go down there and play hard," Austin Peay coach Kirby Cannon said. "It's in our backyard. A lot of our kids are from Nashville, and we have some similar issues that we had against Tennessee."
Here are five things to watch when Vanderbilt hosts Austin Peay on Saturday night:
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