(Saturday, October 4th)
Final Score: (19) Vanderbilt 14, (13) Auburn 13
Nashville, TN (Sports Network) - Mackenzi Adams threw a pair of touchdown passes as 19th-ranked Vanderbilt edged No. 13 Auburn, 14-13, in an SEC showdown at Vanderbilt Stadium.
Adams finished the game 13-for-23 with 153 yards and added 54 yards on the ground while Justin Wheeler and Brandon Barden each caught a touchdown for the Commodores (5-0, 3-0 SEC), who are off to their first 5-0 start since 1943.
"The attitude in the locker room throughout the season has been to expect to win," said Vandy wide receiver George Smith. "We've turned a corner in the program. We've brought in better players and work hard to bring a winning attitude to our work."
Chris Todd went 8-for-16 with 70 yards, two touchdowns and an interception while Ben Tate had 27 carries for 108 yards for the Tigers (4-4, 2-2), who had won the past 15 contests against Vanderbilt and lost for the first time against the Commodores since the 1955 Gator Bowl.
"You got to start with what they did on defense," said Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville. "We tried to attack them with crossing routes. We didn't have enough time to throw it at times. They did a good job of zone blitzing and bringing five guys and it seemed like we never picked a guy up. We tried to cut the screens. It seemed like the only thing we could do to get going was to get a penalty."
Trailing, 13-7, the Commodores put together an impressive drive on their first possession of the second half, but came away empty as Bryant Hahnfeldt pushed a 40-yard field goal attempt wide left.
After holding Auburn on the ensuing possession, Vanderbilt got the ball back and took the lead. An eight-play, 68-yard march that took less than three minutes was finished as Adams found Barden in the back of the end zone with three defenders around him for a one-yard score and a 14-13 lead with 7:09 left in the third.
The Commodores had a chance to extend their lead later in the third as the team lined up for a 49-yard field goal attempt, but Hahnfeldt's kicked was blocked.
Auburn was going to attempt a 51-yard field goal on the ensuing possession, but the team was called for a delay of game penalty to push it back five yards and opted to punt instead.
The offenses for both teams sputtered in the fourth quarter and Auburn had one last chance to take the lead back as the team got the ball back with 2:16 to play.
However, on the first play Todd had his pass picked off by Myron Lewis and Vanderbilt killed off the clock to hold on for the win.
After stopping Vanderbilt on the first possession of the game, Auburn drove down the field and had a 1st-and-goal at the four-yard line. Vanderbilt, though, stood tall and held Auburn out of the end zone on four straight attempts from Tate to keep it a scoreless game.
However, after again holding the Commodores, the Tigers took the lead. A nine- play, 49-yard drive was finished when Todd hit Rodgeriqus Smith in the middle of the end zone from seven yards outs for a 7-0 lead with 4:09 left in the first.
Auburn struck quickly to extend its lead as Jerraud Powers picked off Chris Nickson on the first play of Vanderbilt's ensuing drive and, two plays later, Todd found Mario Fannin in the end zone over the middle for a 28-yard score. Wes Byrum missed the extra point and Auburn held a 13-0 lead with 3:09 remaining in the first.
In the second quarter, a 25-yard punt return by D.J. Moore gave Vanderbilt the ball at the Auburn 30 with 3:41 left in the half. On 3rd-and-goal at the 15- yard line, Adams hit a leaping Wheeler just inside the goal line to make it a 13-7 game heading into the break.
It was the first interception Nickson has thrown this season...Vanderbilt is ranked for the first time since 1984...Fannin finished the game with three catches for 56 yards...Wheeler had five catches for 52 yards while Sean Walker had four catches for 66 yards for the Commodores.
10/04 23:57:41 ET