NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Vanderbilt forced three turnovers and
turned them into touchdowns in a span of 2:15 in the second half,
sparking a 38-9 victory over Division I-AA Tennessee State on
The Commodores (1-3) led 10-3 late in the third quarter, but
downed Brett Upson's 32-yard punt at the Tennessee State 1.
Two plays later, Vanderbilt's Jonathan Goff applied pressure to
quarterback Antonio Hefner, who threw the ball into the back of one
of his linemen. Vandy's Marcus Buggs picked off the deflection just
before stepping out of the back of the end zone for a touchdown.
On the Tigers' next play from scrimmage, Vanderbilt safety
Reshard Langford picked off a pass from Hefner and returned it 21
yards to the Tennessee State 33. Nickson hit Earl Bennett with a
33-yard TD pass on the next play.
A solid defensive effort helped the Commodores to a 10-3
halftime lead. The Tigers (2-2) didn't record a first down until
midway through the second quarter.
The Commodore offense failed to take advantage of two scoring
opportunities on their first two possessions.
After driving to the TSU 2, Bryant Hahnfeldt missed a 19-yard
field goal, and only minutes later, Tennessee State's Shaun
Richardson dropped Cassen Jackson-Garrison before the goal line on
a fourth-and-goal play from the 1.
Vanderbilt did score on its next possession when Nickson hit
Marlon White with a 5-yard touchdown pass with 1:11 remaining in
the first quarter. Hahnfeldt added a 26-yard field goal on the next
Commodore drive for a 10-0 lead.
TSU added a 25-yard Eric Benson field goal with 2:08 remaining
in the half. The drive was set up when Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
intercepted Nickson at the Vanderbilt 39 and returned it to the 12.
The Tigers scored their lone touchdown when Hefner hit Chris
Johnson with a 15-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter.
The meeting was the first between the two universities, located
only a few miles apart.
Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher hopes quarterback Sean Maguire is ready to go full speed by the middle of June.
Graduate transfer quarterback Davis Webb has officially joined California, giving the Golden Bears an experienced option to replace No. 1 overall NFL draft pick Jared Goff.
First-year football coach Dino Babers, hired by former Syracuse AD Mark Coyle, is on the committee that will search for Coyle's replacement.
Hugh Freeze has some major holes to fill on offense with the departures of Laremy Tunsil and Laquon Treadwell, but there is Chady Kelly and good depth.
After transferring in from Montana State, Dakota Prukop has a checklist he's working from as he prepares to compete for the Oregon job.
The destination for Week 6 of the Big 12 Ultimate Road Trip is unanimous, as all three conference reporters would head to the Red River Rivalry.
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