Sept. 19, 2009
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP)-- Mississippi State Dan Mullen won his first game in the Southeastern Conference and didn't care much what it looked like.
"Any victory is an unbelievable feeling," Mullen said.
Tyson Lee ran 22 yards for a touchdown to seal a 15-3 victory Saturday against Vanderbilt for Mississippi State's first-year coach.
Sean Brauchle made three field goals for the Bulldogs, the longest from 49 yards, and Anthony Dixon rushed for 123 yards on 21 carries.
"We talked about relentless effort, and the fact that we had to keep punching and keep battling," defensive back Zach Smith said. That's what we did which caused us to win."
Christian Ducre had 62 rushing yards on nine carries, and quarterback Chris Relf added 44 yards on nine attempts as the Bulldogs (2-1, 1-1 Southeastern) gained 259 of their 340 yards on the ground.
"We were able to run the ball well, and that's a strong point with our running backs," said Mullen, who was offensive coordinator for Florida's last two national title teams. "The defense was able to get off the quickly and get our offense right back out there."
Vanderbilt (1-2, 0-2) scored after defensive end Tim Fugger recovered a fumble at Mississippi State's 6. The Commodores gained three yards on three runs before Ryan Fowler kicked a 20-yard field goal to tie it in the second quarter.
"The best way I can say this is we got it handed to us (Saturday) night," coach Bobby Johnson said. "They came out and just were more physical than we were, executed better than we did, coached better than we did, played better than we did."
The Commodores allowed just two third-down conversions on 15 attempts.
Brauchle made a 44-yard field goal on the first play of the second quarter and a 27-yarder with 2:14 remaining before halftime.
Ten of Vanderbilt's its first 11 possessions ended with punts.
Larry Smith was 12 for 31 attempts for 123 yards for Vanderbilt. He was intercepted once. Warren Norman was the Commodores' leading rusher with 26 yards on seven carries.
"We played poorly, didn't execute," Smith said. "We didn't throw the ball well, didn't catch the ball at all. Just overall, on the offensive side of the ball we played poorly."