This is Derek Mason’s second road victory as a head coach and boy was it a dandy.
Vanderbilt beat Western Kentucky on Saturday night 31-30 in an overtime thriller. The Commodores are now 2-2 heading into SEC play and Mason showed that his team can come from behind and win tough games.
Here are the 3 Reasons Why: Vanderbilt Beat WKU In Overtime
The Commodores were never out the game and down the stretch Vanderbilt grew up as a football team. QB Kyle Shurmur’s final drive in regulation set up RB Ralph Webb’s plunge into the end zone to force OT.
Methodically pushing the ball down the field, Shurmur had some of the best pocket presence
we’ve seen from the young quarterback.
In overtime, Vandy kept the momentum going as Shurmur threw a strike to WR Nathan Marcus on 3rd & Goal from the five yard line. This was such a key play. After fumbling the snap on 1st down, Shurmur hung in the pocket, side stepped defenders and put six up on the board to force Western Kentucky to have to score a touchdown on their next possession.
Two plays later the Hilltoppers passed the pylon and head coach Jeff Brohm wanted the win. Electing to go for the 2-point conversion, the game came down to one play and Vandy rose to the occasion. WKU quarterback Mike White’s pass was deflected and hit the turf to end the game.
A great come from behind victory by a Commodore team that was counted out.
Vanderbilt’s star back carried the ball 27 time for 95 yards and scored 3 touchdowns. Those three touchdowns came at crucial times. With the game on the line at the end of regulation, offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig decided to run the football instead of pass. Behind his offensive line, Webb dove across the end zone and extended the game.
This play is the reason Derek Mason named Webb a team captain earlier this week. Jumping over a defender, Webb did whatever it took to cross the white line. Another reason why he’s the best player on the team and the leading rusher in the SEC.
Forcing WKU Turnovers
Ultimately it was the defense that kept the Dores in this game. Three total turnover at inopportune times killed WKU’s chances of extending their lead. Vandy forced two fumbles with one of those fumbles coming at their own 5 yard line. Defensive back Torren McGaster make one heck of a play that flipped the field and more importantly, kept points off of the scoreboard.
CB Tre Herndon came up with a massive interception when the game was tied at 14. Picking off Hilltopper QB Mike White at Vandy’s 11 yard line, again, saved points for the Commodores.
There is no way that Vanderbilt could have won a shootout type game against Western Kentucky. The Vandy defense kept things close and gave the offense an opportunity to force overtime late in the game and eventually get the win.