The Point After: Alabama A&M

Sept. 9, 2017

By Zac Ellis

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Vanderbilt made its first home game of 2017 an impressive one.

The Commodores controlled their home opener against FCS foe Alabama A&M from start to finish, beating the Bulldogs 42-0 at Vanderbilt Stadium. With the win, the Dores begin the season 2-0 for the first time since 2011.

Here’s how it went down on West End:

WHAT HAPPENED: Vanderbilt shot out of the gate to build a sizable 35-0 lead over Alabama A&M by halftime. The Dores amassed 291 yards of offense by intermission and went on to record the program’s first shutout since a 40-0 victory over Kentucky on Nov. 5, 2012.

TURNING POINT: Vanderbilt scored two touchdowns on its first two drives. The Dores turned the opening kickoff into an 11-play, 67-yard touchdown drive, capped by 6-yard touchdown run by Ralph Webb. They then went 54 yards to the end zone on their next series, punctuated by a Kyle Shurmur scoring toss to Jared Pinkney.

QB Kyle Shurmur: For the second straight game, Shurmur was efficient and mistake-free at quarterback. The junior completed his first 12 passes and finished 15-of-18 for 202 yards, four passing touchdowns and his first-career rushing score. Shurmur’s five total touchdowns set a new single-game career-high.

TE Jared Pinkney: Vanderbilt’s tight end put up a strong day against Alabama A&M. The redshirt sophomore notched career-highs in receiving yards (51) and receiving touchdowns (two) and tied a career mark with four catches.

LB Emmanuel Smith: A big piece of Vanderbilt’s puzzle in the middle of its defense, Smith led the charge to stifle Alabama A&M’s offense. The linebacker set single-game career-highs in total tackles (10), sacks (0.5) and tackles for loss (1.5) on Saturday.

Alabama A&M’s total yards of offense at halftime. Vanderbilt dominated the first two quarters to build a 35-0 lead at the break. The Bulldogs’ five completed first-half possessions ended in punts as they managed just 38 total yards against the Dores’ defense.

Shurmur's completion percentage against Alabama A&M. The junior completed 15 of his 18 pass attempts to set a Vanderbilt single-game record for completion percentage.

Alabama A&M third-down conversions against Vanderbilt. The Bulldogs finished 2-of-14 on third down, meaning Vanderbilt has held its first two opponents in 2017 to 2-of-26 on third down.

WORTH NOTING: Saturday's 42-0 victory was Vanderbilt's most lopsided win since it beat Western Carolina 45-0 on Sept. 5, 2009.

WHAT’S NEXT: Vanderbilt welcomes No. 19 Kansas State to Nashville next Saturday, Sept. 16. Kickoff is 6:30 p.m. CT on ESPNU.


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