OXFORD, Ohio -- Quarterback Chris Nickson rushed for a career-high 166 yards and two touchdowns and passed for another TD to lead Vanderbilt to a 34-13 victory over Miami of Ohio in the season opener for both teams Thursday night.
An interception and a punt return by D.J. Moore lead to 10 Vanderbilt points during a six-minute span of the first quarter as the Commodores pulled away.
The victory was the first for Vanderbilt since Oct. 27, when it beat Miami 24-13. Vanderbilt then needed one more victory to become bowl eligible, but lost the final four games of the regular season.
Miami's only lead Thursday night came on a 37-yard field goal by Nathan Parseghian early in the first quarter.
Vanderbilt when ahead 7-3 when Nickson and Sean Walker hooked up for a 49-yard completion and then a 4-yard touchdown pass.
Moore's interception on the RedHawks' ensuing possession led to a 42-yard field goal by Bryant Hahnfeldt. Moore later returned a punt 91 yards to the Miami 1, and Nickson plunged in from there to put the Commodores on top 17-3.
The RedHawks answered with a 30-yard touchdown pass from Daniel Raudabaugh to Eugene Harris. But Vanderbilt countered in just three plays, including a 59-yard run by Nickson and a 14-yard touchdown run by Nickson.
Nickson was 9-of-16 for 91 yards.
Raudabaugh was 19-of-41 for 244 yards, with one touchdown and three interceptions.