Sept. 1, 2007
Recap | Quotes
Vanderbilt moves to 1-0 on the season. The victory is the Commodores' first home win in a season opener since 1997 (29-12 over North Texas. It broke a five-game home losing streak in the opener. Vanderbilt moves to 5-5 in its last 10 season openers against non-Southeastern Conference members. It is marks Vanderbilt's 75th win in season openers. The Commodores move to 75-39-4 all-time in the openers, and 52-15-2 all-time in season openers played on campus. It also marks Vanderbilt's third victory without a loss in the series with Richmond.
Three Commodore defensive players - tackle Gabe Hall, end Steven Stone and cornerback Myron Lewis - earned their first career starts for Vanderbilt. Every Commodore offensive starter has started previous to the opener.
Nine Commodores enjoyed their initial collegiate action. They include RB Kennard Reeves, LB/SN John Stokes, TE Justin Green, LB Nathan Campbell, LB Michael Garcia, DE Theron Kadri, DE Reilly Lauer, center Joey Bailey and CB Alan Strong.
First Half Notes
LB Marcus Buggs and DT Gabe Hall took the Commodore defense off to an excellent start, with Hall intercepting a Richmond pass that was tipped by Buggs on the opening play of the game. It was the first interception of Hall's career. The turnover did not result in Vanderbilt points.
Late in the first quarter, D.J. Moore returned a Richmond kickoff 63 yards, Vanderbilt's longest return since Kwane Doster's 95-yard effort at Ole Miss on 9/20/02.
The Commodores scored their first touchdown of the year when Chris Nickson ran an option toss to the right for a 4 yard touchdown run by TB Jeff Jennings. It was Jennings' 13th career rushing TD, and his first since scoring against Florida on Nov. 5, 2005.
LB Jonathan Goff stopped a deep Spider possession with a fourth down tackle for no gain.
The Commodores scored again with 5:31 left in the second quarter on a 15-yard TD pass by Chris Nickson to Earl Bennett. The drive lasted 7 plays 65 yards and 3 minutes and 16 seconds. Chris Nickson completed his first nine consecutive passes.
Vanderbilt scored with :12 left in the first half when Nickson hit Bennett from a yard out.
Second Half Notes
Bennett, who had eight catches in the first half, started strongly in the second half, catching a 49-yard TD from Nickson.
On two occasions, Bennett set career highs for punt returns. His longest, a 36-yarder, came with 6:29 left in the third quarter.
With 4:29, Moore picked off a Richmond pass, returning the ball 22 yards to the Spider 9-yard line. It was Moore's second career interception. Bryant Hahnfeldt ended the possession with a 22-yard field goal.
Goff ended his second Spider drive of the game with an interception - second of his career - with 11:33 left.
Vanderbilt's 41-point total was the most by the Commodores in a season opener since 1950, when they had 47 points in a victory over Middle Tennessee.
Earl Bennett: Set an all-time Vanderbilt mark with 223 receiving yards. Finished with 13 receptions and three touchdowns. Bennett's yardage total breaks the former mark of 222 yards set by Clarence Sevillian vs. Tennessee on Nov. 20, 1992. He now has 174 career receptions, 14th all-time in the SEC. He also has 18 career touchdown catches, tied for third all-time on the team. He now ranks fourth on the team with 2,245 career receiving yards. It marks Bennett's eighth career 100-yard receiving game and eighth career double-digit catch game. He also has seven games of at least 150 receiving yards. Bennett also amassed 285 all-purpose yards.
Chris Nickson: Connected on 19 of 26 passes for 284 yards and four touchdowns. It was the third highest passing yardage total of his career and his fourth career effort with at least 250+ yards passing.
Jeff Jennings and Mackenzi Adams posted career-best rushes - Jennings with a 24-yarder; Adams with a 44-yarder. In his first performance in more than a year, Jennings had a team-high 67 rushing yards and two scores.
The last time Vanderbilt had three interceptions was against Florida on Nov. 4, 2006.