Second-half surge pushes VU past Rice, 36-17

Sept. 26, 2009

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HOUSTON (AP) - Vanderbilt ran the ball 43 times for 216 yards, scored four rushing touchdowns and beat Rice 36-17 Saturday night in Houston.

Warren Norman ran the ball 11 times for a game-high 119 yards and scored a 58-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter to break the game open for the Commodores (2-2), who snapped a two-game losing streak. Kennard Reeves, John Cole and quarterback Larry Smith each scored on the ground for Vanderbilt.

Charles Ross had seven carries for 63 yards and a touchdown for Rice (0-4).

John Thomas Shepherd was one of two quarterbacks who played for the Owls, who managed just 17 first downs, were intercepted four times and converted just 3 of 18 times on third down in their home opener. Shepherd completed 6 of 14 passes for 58 yards and a touchdown.

Cole scored from 31 yards on a reverse less than three minutes into the game. Ross ran for a 48-yard TD to tie the game later in the first quarter, but the Commodores went on to take a 30-10 lead. Reeves' 11-yard touchdown run capped the scoring.



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