The Point After: Tennessee

Nov. 25, 2017

By Zac Ellis

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Amid a disppointing season, Vanderbilt found a way to close things in style.

The Commodores ventured to Knoxville and used a strong final three quarters to sink host Tennessee, 42-24. With the win, Vanderbilt notched its fourth victory over Tennessee in the last six seasons.

Here’s how it went down at Neyland Stadium:

WHAT HAPPENED: Vanderbilt and Tennessee traded scores on the first five drives of the game before the Commodores forced a Volunteer punt with 56 seconds until half. The Dores had taken a 21-14 lead on a 30-yard Kyle Shurmur touchdown pass to Kalija Lipscomb in the second quarter, and they carried that lead into half. But Vanderbilt’s defense locked down the Vols in the second half, allowing just 10 points the rest of the way.

TURNING POINT: The scored was tied 14-14 when Vanderbilt engineered a drive to take the lead on a nifty play. The Commodores extended the drive on a fourth-down run in UT territory before offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig threw a curveball. Kyle Shurmur hit Kalija Lipscomb with a 30-yard pass on a flea-flicker to lift Vanderbilt to a 21-14 lead, its first of the game. The Dores never trailed from there.

QB Kyle Shurmur (Vanderbilt)
Shurmur ended his junior season with a stellar performance against rival Tennessee. He finished 20 of 31 for 283 yards and four touchdowns, all while avoiding any turnovers. With his four scoring passes, Shurmur set a new Vanderbilt single-season record in touchdown passes with 26.

RB Ralph Webb (Vanderbilt)
Webb capped his Vanderbilt career with an epic performance against Tennessee. He rushed for 163 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries, setting a new Commodore record for career rushing touchdowns (32).

WR C.J. Duncan (Vanderbilt)
The senior wide receiver hauled in six catches for a season-high 99 yards. Duncan was a big piece of the Commodores’ puzzle on third down and secured Vanderbilt’s first touchdown on a catch in the first quarter.

Yards of offense for Tennessee after its first two drives. The Vols scored on their first two possessions on a pair of 85- and 75-yard drives – or a combined 160 yards – but struggled mightily in ensuing possessions. Vanderbilt held UT to just 78 yards on its final eight drives for a combined offensive output of just 238 yards.

Time of possession for Vanderbilt. The Commodores, who finished 11 of 15 on third down, were able to extend drives and keep the Vols’ own offense off the field.

Receivers who caught touchdown passes from Shurmur on Saturday. The junior quarterback managed to spread the wealth with his scoring tosses, with Trent Sherifled (two), Duncan (one) and Kalija Lipscomb (one) all bringing in touchdown catches.

WORTH NOTING: Vanderbilt handed Tennessee its first eight-loss season in program history. Meanwhile, the Commodores secured back-to-back victories against the Vols for just the second time since 1926.

WHAT’S NEXT: Vanderbilt finished 2017 5-7 overall and 1-7 in SEC play.

Zac Ellis is the Writer and Digital Media Editor for Vanderbilt Athletics.


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