Midway through the first quarter, LSU true freshman quarterback Russell Shepard saw his first action on the collegiate level and he ran a quarterback keeper for 13 yards.
Shepard flanked out at receiver on the very next play and caught a pass from Jordan Jefferson for six yards but fumbled and Vanderbilt recovered.
Redshirt freshman defensive end Chancey Aghayere started in place of an injured Pep Levingston and was credited with the first sack of his career a little past the midway point of the first quarter.
Keiland Williams’ 6-yard touchdown run at the 2:12 mark of the first quarter broke a scoreless tie and it also brought the first episode of rain for the night.
LSU’s defense surrendered 49 first quarter yards on 17 offensive plays for the Commodores. Vanderbilt rushed for 24 yards on 10 carries and had 25 yards passing. The Tigers, meanwhile, rushed for 57 yards in the first quarter on eight carries and picked up 34 yards through the air for a total of 91 yards on 18 plays.
Vanderbilt topped their first quarter yard output on its first drive of the second quarter going 80 yards in 12 plays in 2:55. That drive followed Josh Jasper’s 32-yard field goal and cut the lead to 10-7 with 7:20 to go until the half.
LSU pushed its lead to 13-7 on Jasper’s 22-yard field goal with two seconds left in the half. The Tigers had a first and goal at the 5 yard line and Les Miles chose to go for the field goal rather than take a shot in the end zone with six seconds on the clock.
At the half, LSU outgained Vandy 232-129 in total yards. The Tigers rushed for 122 yards on 20 carries, while Vandy rushed for 72 on 17 attempts. LSU held a 110-57 advantage in passing yards.
Keiland Williams led LSU with 40 yards rushing on six carries with a touchdown, and true freshman Zac Stacy led the Commodores with 49 yards on nine rushes.
R.J. Jackson had back-to-back catches on LSU’s final drive of the first half after catching only one pass during his career prior to tonight. The senior wide out finished with a career-high six receptions for a game-high 55 yards.
Vandy converted 3-of-8 third down attempts and LSU was good on 6-of-10. The Tigers had the ball for 18:23 compared to 11:37 for Vandy.
Harry Coleman led LSU with six tackles in the first half and Perry Riley added four with all four in the first quarter.
The third quarter was about as uneventful as one could imagine as LSU managed only 23 yards of offense and Vandy registered 41. The Tigers had six yards rushing and 17 passing, while the Commodores netted all of their yards on the ground. The Tigers only points came on a field goal by Josh Jasper and Vandy’s were courtesy of a safety when Alex Russian snapped the ball over Derek Helton’s head and out of the end zone.
Brandon Taylor, who made his first career start, logged the first interception of his career with 13:41 left in the game and it thwarted a Vanderbilt scoring opportunity as the Tigers took over at their own 16 yard line.
LSU put the game away when Keiland Williams scored from 14 yards out for his second rushing touchdown of the evening.
Richard Murphy went out with an injury and Les Miles said he will be out next week and it’s likely that he will be out for the Mississippi State game as well.
Several Tigers made their first career appearances against Vanderbilt. Along with Russell Shepard, Alex Hurst, Morris Claiborne, Chris Tolliver and Jhyryn Taylor all got in the game.
The LSU basketball team was honored during a TV timeout in the first quarter along with former LSU center Shaquille O’Neal, who was named to the All-Century Team for men’s basketball.
The 2009 National Champion LSU baseball team was honored on the field at the end of the first quarter.
Attendance for the night was 91,566.