Saturday, September 24, 2016

Vanderbilt rallies to beat Western Kentucky 31-30 in OT

Vanderbilt's defense turned away a 2-point conversion play at the end of the first overtime as the Commodores escaped with a 31-30 victory over Western Kentucky on Saturday.
Kyle Shurmur's 5-yard pass to Nathan Marcus on the first possession of overtime gave Vanderbilt (2-2) its first lead of the game, and Tommy Openshaw added the point after for the Commodores.
Western Kentucky (2-2) answered quickly, needing just two plays to find the end zone on Mike White's 8-yard pass to Shaquille Johnson.
Hilltoppers coach Jeff Brohm elected to go for two points. White rolled to his right, but his pass was batted into the air and ruled incomplete, as Vanderbilt players rushed the field to celebrate the comeback victory.
The Commodores went 75 yards in the final 1:02 of regulation in seven plays to tie the game at 24-24 and force overtime. A pass interference call in the end zone on Western Kentucky's De'Andre Simmons against Vanderbilt's Trent Shurfield gave the Commodores the ball at the Hilltopper 2 with three seconds to play in regulation. Vanderbilt running back Ralph Webb, who had three rushing touchdowns in the game, leaped from just inside the 5 and landed just beyond the front edge of the end zone for the tying score.
The Hilltoppers built a 14-0 lead in the first half, getting a 4-yard run from Anthony Wales to cap the opening drive of the game. WKU added a second-quarter score when backup quarterback Tyler Ferguson hit Nacarius Fan on a 61-yard pass play.
Webb capped touchdown drives for Vanderbilt of 4 and 2 yards to tie the game briefly at 14-14.
Wales put the Hilltoppers back in front with a 20-yard touchdown and the teams traded fourth-quarter field goals before the Commodores game-tying drive.
THE TAKEAWAY
WESTERN KENTUCKY: The Hilltoppers dominated the game on the stat sheet, putting up 501 yards of total offense. Running back Anthony Wales gained 157 yards on 24 carries and scored two touchdowns. The Hilltoppers also completed 24 of 40 passes for 291 yards. However, Western Kentucky was penalized 11 times for 88 yards and also had a pass intercepted and lost two fumbles. WKU was just 3 of 12 on third-down conversions in the game.
VANDERBILT: The Commodores haven't exactly been known for their passing, but quarterback Kyle Shurmur starred in the fourth-quarter and the overtime period. Shurmur was just 10 of 17 for 124 yards and an interception through the first three quarters. But in the fourth quarter and overtime, he was 8 of 12 for 155 yards and a touchdown in overtime. Shurmur took the Commodores 75 yards in seven plays with 1:02 left and no timeouts to tie the game and force OT.
UP NEXT
VANDERBILT: The Commodores return home and to SEC action as the Florida Gators visit on Oct. 1.
WESTERN KENTUCKY: The Hilltoppers are at home for the second consecutive week, hosting Houston Baptist on Oct. 1.

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