Vanderbilt defeats local rival TSU 35-17

Khari Blasingame ran for 100 yards and three touchdowns as Vanderbilt rallied from an early deficit to win its second consecutive game, 35-17. The win improved the Commodores' record to 4-4 with four SEC games in the final stretch.

A stunned homecoming crowd of over 30,000 watched as TSU, on its second offensive play of the game, connected on a 93-yard scoring pass from quarterback Ronald Butler to Patrick Smith. Vanderbilt answered on its opening possession with a 5-play, 73-yard drive that ended with a Khari Blasingame 1-yard scoring run.  Blasingame would go on to score two touchdowns during the game, bringing his season total to seven.  

After another touchdown pass from Butler to Smith, this time a 2-yard toss, the Commodores trailed 14-7 with 5:03 left in the first quarter. 

Following an exchange of punts between the two teams, Vanderbilt put together an 11-play, 92-yard drive to tie the score at  14 with eight minutes remaining in the half.  Ironically, a drive which saw Blasingame slash through the Tigers for 47 yards, was ended with a 21-yard scoring pass from Kyle Shurmur to Jalen Pinkney.  Following a TSU 37-yard field goal by Lane Clark with 4:37 to play in the half, Vandy responded with  5-play, 78-yard drive that culminated with yet another Blasingame score, this time a 3-yard blast to put VU up 21-17 at the half.  Vandy would never trail again.

A 49-yard jaunt by Ralph Webb got the Commodores off to a great start in the third quarter.  Three plays later Blasingame scored his final touchdown of the night on a 4-yard run.  A six-yard run by Trent Sherfield finalized the game's scoring with just over six minutes to go.  

Vandy gained 501 yards total offense during the game.  Webb finished with 125 yards rushing on just nine carries (13.9 ypc).  Blasingame gained his 100 yards on 14 carries (7.1 ypc).   Darrius Sims (50 yds, 5 carries) and Josh Crawford (49 yds, 6 carries) rounded out Vandy's top ground gainers.  Shurmur  connected on 15-of-23 for 143 yards and the touchdown to Pinkney.  Pinkney led VU with four receptions for 50 yards.  

TSU's Butler had a solid day with 19-of-30 passes completed for 285 and two touchdowns.  He was intercepted once by Vandy's Torren McGaster.   Ryan White led the Commodores with six tackles.  Nifae Lealao, Oren Burks and Landon Stokes combined for four sacks of Butler. 

Mason, who won back-to-back games for the first time as a head coach, commented on reaching the .500 level for the first time as well.

"It means a lot. It means a lot heading into the next four games at .500," said Mason.  "Our goal every week is to go 1-0 and I like where this team is. It's about learning what we can and getting better."

Vandy now has a bye week before traveling to Auburn on November 5.  

"Now we get a chance to rest, which we'll need to make a run... I'm going to give the guys a couple of days off and we'll be back at it after that," said Mason. 'We'll give these guys some time to get well. I've put them through some tough practices, so we'll let them get their bodies back."

Vandy has now scored a combined 113 points against regional opponents Middle Tennessee, Western Kentucky and Tennessee State but only 53 points in the other five games played.  


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