Oct. 11, 2008
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Commodore Game Notes
Vanderbilt at Mississippi State, Starkville, Miss.
Saturday, Oct. 11, 2008
With the 17-14 loss to Mississippi State, the No. 13 Commodores fall to 5-1 overall and 2-1 in Southeastern Conference play. Vanderbilt was attempting to start 6-0 overall for the first time since 1928 and 4-0 in SEC play for the first time in the program's history.
With 14:00 left in the first quarter, DT Adam Smotherman recorded his first career QB sack.
Vanderbilt faced a deficit for the sixth consecutive game after a 33-yard MSU field goal with 9:16 left.
Junior OG Nick Forte earned his first career starting assignment.
Junior Brett Upson gave the Commodores improved field position with a season-long 56-yard punt at the 7:15 mark of the first quarter.
Smotherman added his second QB sack with 4:50 left in the first quarter, forcing a MSU punt.
The Vanderbilt offense again struggled in the opening stanza, gaining just 13 total yards. MSU had 23 offensive plays to just six for the Commodores.
With 9:02 left in the second quarter, LB Brent Trice recorded a QB sack, his second of the year. MSU's punt following the sack netted just four yards.
Vanderbilt's initial first down came at the 7:39 mark of the second quarter on a 15-yard rush by WR Sean Walker.
Upson pinned MSU deep in its own territory at the 5:12 mark, with a 40-yard punt downed by Jamie Graham at the MSU 2-yard line.
After a short MSU punt gave Vanderbilt excellent field possession at the Bulldog 17-yard line, QB Chris Nickson gave the Commodores a lead by sneaking in from 1-yard out with :19 left in the second quarter. It was Nickson's sixth rushing TD this season and 17th for his career.
Vanderbilt held its third straight SEC opponent without points in the second quarter.
The Vanderbilt defense allowed its first points in the second half when MSU QB Tyson Lee connected with TE Brandon Henderson from four yards with 8:09 left in the third quarter. The Commodores had held its last three opponents scoreless after intermission. It is the first second half points allowed by Vanderbilt since South Carolina scored a fourth quarter TD on Sept. 4.
With 4:53 left in the third quarter, a pressure by DE Broderick Stewart forced a Bulldog punt.
With 14:50 to go in the fourth quarter, Vanderbilt committed its first turnover of the contest - a Chris Nickson pass that was intercepted by De'Mon Glanton and returned to the Vanderbilt seven yard line. It was Nickson's second interception of the 2008-09 season.
The Bulldogs capitalized on the turnover, as Christian Ducre ran for a three-yard score with 13:27 to go in the fourth quarter.
With 13:20 in the fourth quarter, Mackenzi Adams entered the ballgame for Chris Nickson at quarterback.
On ensuing drive, Adams completed a 21-yard pass to Sean Walker for Vanderbilt's longest play of the game (2nd and 15), and led the Commodores on a 10-play, 57-yard drive that was capped off with a 2-yard touchdown run by senior running back Jeff Jennings. It was Jennings' first touchdown of the season, and the 15th rushing TD of his career.
With Mississippi State leading 17-14, Adams threw the Commodores' second interception of the game and his first of the season with 3:28 to go in the contest.
Adams was 5-of-9 passing and threw for 47 yards and an interception on the day. He relieved a struggling Chris Nickson, who was 3-for-10 passing for 15 yards and rushed for seven yards on 12 carries.
It was the first time all season that Vanderbilt has thrown two interceptions in a game. The two INT's resulted in seven Bulldog points.
Vanderbilt had only 107 yards of total offense against Miss. State, its lowest output of the season. VU also set season lows for first downs (7), passing yards (62), rushing yards (45), and time of possession (23:48).
Sean Walker and Jeff Jennings led the Vanderbilt on the ground with 15 yards apiece. Walker also led all receivers with 27 yards receiving.
The Commodores held the Bulldogs to only 81 yards passing on the day.
MSU's Anthony Dixon rushed for 107 yards on 27 carries, only the second running back to rush for 100 yards or more against the Commodores (Ben Tate of Auburn, 27-108).
Rashard Langford led all Commodore defenders with 10 tackles, including nine solo. Patrick Benoist tallied nine total tackles, and Chris Marve had eight.
Langford went over the 200-tackle mark of his career and now has 209 tackles in his four-year career. Benoist eclipsed the 100-tackle mark in his career and now has 105 in his three-year career.
Vanderbilt was penalized 10 times for 65 yards, the most penalties and penalty yardage the Commodores have incurred in any game this season.
Senior Brett Upson had another outstanding day punting for the Commodores. He had eight punts for a 42.1yard average, and had a long of 56 yards and pinned the Bulldogs inside their own 20-yard line on two occasions.