Vanderbilt comes from behind to beat Middle Tennessee 17-13
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP) Ralph Webb ran for a 39-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter to lift Vanderbilt past Middle Tennessee 17-13 on Saturday night.
The Commodores overcame a 10-point deficit with two touchdowns in the final 6:14. Quarterback Johnny McCrary scored on a 29-yard run before Webb scored with 1:12 left to play. It was Vanderbilt’s (2-3) first win against an FBS opponent this season.
”Once I broke through the second wave of the defense, all I saw was the end zone,” Webb said. ”I was trying to get there as fast as I could.”
Webb ran for 155 yards on 25 carries for his first 100-yard rushing game of the season and third of his career.
”Bout time,” Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason said. ”I’ll be honest with you. I’ve been waiting for him to hit one for a while.”
”Sometimes you run out of time,” said Mason. ”Today we almost ran out of time. . It was our first road win since I’ve been here, and that’s huge for this young, growing football team.”
Mason is 5-12 in his second season at Vanderbilt.
Brent Stockstill threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Ed’Marques Batties to give Middle Tennessee (2-3) a 13-3 lead early in the fourth quarter. Batties caught the ball in the end zone, and held on to it after Vanderbilt safety Arnold Tarpley popped his helmet off while trying to knock the ball loose. Batties finished with 10 catches for 82 yards.
The 63-yard, 12-play drive was helped by a Vanderbilt personal foul when a Commodore defender made contact with long snapper William Eads on a Blue Raider punt attempt. The penalty moved the ball to the Vanderbilt 32 and Middle Tennessee scored six plays later.
Stockstill, a freshman and the son of Middle Tennessee head coach Rick Stockstill, finished 32-of-51 passing for 286 yards. His 32 completions were the second most in a game in school history.
Vanderbilt held Middle Tennessee to just 34 yards on 23 carries. The Commodores finished with 286 yards rushing.
”We did a nice job for the most part defensively until the last drive,” Rick Stockstill said.
Cody Clark sandwiched field goals of 44 and 28 yards between a Tommy Openshaw 40-yard field goal to give the Blue Raiders a 6-3 halftime lead.
Middle Tennessee had an opportunity to extend its three-point lead just before halftime, but safety Ryan White recovered Stockstill’s fumble at the Vanderbilt 2 on fourth-and-goal with 6:09 left.
McCrary guided the Commodores down field quickly, but Cavellis Luckett ended the drive when he recovered Caleb Scott’s fumble at the Middle Tennessee 20-yard line with 23 seconds left in the first half.
McCrary was 18 of 31 for 177 yards passing with two interceptions. He also had 33 rushing yards on six carries.
Middle Tennessee safety Kevin Byard picked off the second interception for his 17th of his career, which ties a school record.
”Honestly, I really couldn’t care less about the interception deal,” Byard said. ”I’m more upset we lost the game.”
The Commodores snapped a three-game losing streak against the Blue Raiders in their first game against each other since 2005. It was the first game since 1920 played at Middle Tennessee between the two schools located an hour apart.