Vanderbilt-Western Kentucky: The Good, Bad, Ugly

The Vanderbilt Commodores (2-2) rallied to defeat Western Kentucky 31-30 in overtime on Saturday in Bowling Green, Ky. Here is a look at some of the Good, Bad, and Ugly from the game.


Vanderbilt marched 75-yards in seven plays in the final 1:02 of the game tie the score at 24 and force overtime.  Ralph Webb, who finished with 95 yards rushing for three TDs, leaped into the end zone to cap that drive.  Kyle Shurmur finished the game with 279 yards passing while completing 18-of-29 throws for a touchdown and interception. Cornerback Tre Herndon had a crazy game. He intercepted a pass, was credited with a fumble recovery after snatching the ball from the hands of a WKU receiver, and had a long fumble return for an apparent Vandy touchdown that was reversed by the Conference-USA reviewing official. Herndon was also burned on a 61-yard WKU touchdown reception and had a personal foul penalty called against him.  The good thing is that he was competing and fighting to help Vandy earn a victory. 


The heat.  It was hot and humid in Bowling Green on Saturday and I nearly fainted on the sidelines while shooting photos. I saw several fans, band members are others being tended to during the game. In the first half, the Commodore team baked entirely in the sun while the Hilltoppers had shade on their sideline. We'll never know how much the change in shading in the second half contributed to the 'Dores comeback win. Our own radio play-by-play man Joe Fisher suffered three miserable hours of 120-degree temperatures in the radio booth. After the game and his postgame show, he emerged from the booth with a shirt that was absolutely soaked with sweat. Being the professional that he is, you would never have known the poor conditions he endured by listening to his broadcast. Vandy officials need to keep a "lessons learned" file when the Commodores take out-of-conference road trips. There is no way representatives of Vanderbilt or anyone should have to endure the conditions that Joe experienced.


There wasn't too much ugly in this game other than the second blocked punt of the season for Vandy. Some teams go an entire season or two without having a punt blocked. In this case, thankfully the defense forced a field goal that was missed.  Had it been made the special teams would have been credited with costing Vandy another loss. With two blocked punts in the first four games, the Commodores are on glide path to have six blocked punts this season. This is something that needs to be fixed like yesterday.  


- The touchdown scored in the third quarter was Vanderbilt's first third quarter score of the season.

- Ralph Webb leads the SEC in total rushing yards gained with 472. He is also tied for the lead in rushing TDs with five.

- Derek Mason is now 9-9 in games after losses but 0-8 in games after wins. 

- Third down conversions were one of the telling stories of this game. The Commodores converted on 8-of-16 third downs while holding WKU to just 3-of-12 conversions. By contrast, last week at Georgia Tech, Vandy converted on just 4-of-13 third downs as opposed to the Jackets, who tallied 8-of-15 conversions, a nice turnaround.  

CORRECTION: Taurean Ferguson is actually the player who returned the apparent backwards pass for a touchdown, which was reversed after review.  


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