Vanderbilt Game Notes
September 26, 2009
Opponent: Rice, Rice Stadium, Houston, Texas
The Commodores move to 2-2 overall with the 36-17 win over Rice. Vanderbilt is now 4-4 in its last eight road games dating back to the 2008 opener at Miami (Ohio). Other road wins since the victory against Miami came versus SEC foes Ole Miss and Kentucky.
With the victory, Vanderbilt has captured its last three non-SEC games, including the 2008 Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl against Boston College. The Commodores are 8-2 in their last 10 non-league games.
Vanderbilt moves to 4-1 all-time against Rice, and 3-1 in Houston. Vanderbilt has captured the last three games played between the schools.
The defense in second half limited Rice to just one first down in the third quarter and scoreless until a touchdown with 5:54 left in the fourth and the Commodores holding a 30-10 lead. VU scored 20 unanswered points to start out the second half.
The three field goals in the game was the most since reaching that mark against Boston College in the Music City Bowl last year.
Vanderbilt had a 54-yard pass, and two TD scoring runs of 58-yard and 31-yards on the night.
The Commodores have scored 11 touchdowns this season, 10 of them on the ground after four more rushing scores on the night.
VU outscored Rice 26-7 in the second half and outscored them 17-0 last year in the second half (43-7 in the two-game series).
Redshirt senior Jared Hawkins started at tailback after missing the first three games with a foot injury. The native of Spring, Texas rushed for 17 yards on his first carry. He ended with 61 yards on 11 carries.
Larry Smith set new career highs in passing yards (268), attempts (41) and completions (23). He went over the 200-yard mark for the first time in his career and it was the first time for a Vanderbilt QB since Mackenzi Adams went for 210 against Duke a year ago.
Warren Norman finished with a career high 119 yards on 11 carries, including a career best 58-yard run.
Senior Brent Trice earned his first career start at safety, after starting at linebacker in the season opener.
John Cole set new career highs with seven receptions for 67 yards. He also scored on his first career rush from 31 yards out.
Greg Billinger recorded 1.5 sacks in the game, the second best total of his career. He had two against South Carolina a year ago.
Ryan Fowler set a new career high with three field goals in the game. He came in with two this season.
Myron Lewis finished with six tackles and two interceptions. It was the first time he has recorded more than one INT in a game in his career.
On its first possession, Vanderbilt went 67 yards for a touchdown, capped by WR John Cole's 31-yard reverse for the score. The possession featured a 17-yard rush by TB Jared Hawkins, a 21-yard pass from QB Larry Smith to WR Udom Umoh and Cole's touchdown rush.
Ryan Fowler's 37-yard field goal with 4:18 left in the first quarter gave the Commodores a 10-7 advantage.
At 12:41 of the second quarter, LB Patrick Benoist notched his first career interception, giving the Commodores possession at the Rice 42-yard line. It was the first Commodore interception since Eric Samuels' pick in the opener against Western Carolina.
DT Greg Billinger's sack of Rice QB Ryan Lewis stopped an Owl possession late in the second quarter. It was the team's third quarterback sack of the half.
The Commodore offense produced 15 first downs and 196 total yards in the first half, but watched at least three drives stop in Rice territory due to key penalties, miscues or missed assignments.
WR John Cole had four catches for 37 yards. His previous high for receptions was three against Mississippi State.unforced mistakes.
It marks the second straight year that Vanderbilt and Rice were tied at halftime.
With 5:52 left in the third quarter, freshman cornerback Eddie Foster gave Vanderbilt possession at the Rice 20-yard line with an interception. It was Foster's first career pick. The turnover led to Fowler's 33-yard field goal and a three-point Commodore margin (13-10).
Smith and Umoh connected on a 54-yard pass play late in the second quarter, giving Vanderbilt the ball at Rice's 10-yard line. It marks Vanderbilt's longest pass play from scrimmage this season. On third down, Smith scored on a 6-yard quarterback keeper to push the Commodore lead to 10 points, 20-10.
At the 13:22 mark in the fourth quarter, TJ Greenstone stuffed Rice running back Jeramy Goodson for a loss of one on a third and one from the Owls 23 yard line.
Warren Norman's 58-yard touchdown run at the 12:47 mark in the fourth quarter was the team's longest rush since Chris Nickson ran for 59 yards against Miami (Ohio) in the season opener last year. It was the Commodores longest play from scrimmage this year.
Myron Lewis' interception at the 12:23 mark in the fourth quarter was his first of the year.
Kenard Reeves 11-yard touchdown run at the 4:06 mark in the fourth, was his second TD run of the season and capped off the scoring in the game.
Myron Lewis added another interception with 41 seconds left in the game, and now has eight career interceptions.