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Vanderbilt overpowers Austin Peay 47-7

2564 days ago
Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- After a nonconference near-miss and a tough defeat to open Southeastern Conference play, Vanderbilt shook off a slow start and picked up a 47-7 win Saturday over visiting Austin Peay.

Highlighting the victory was Trent Sherfield, the sophomore receiver who set a school single-game record for receiving yards with 240 on 13 catches. The previous Vanderbilt mark of 223 receiving yards was set by Earl Bennett in a 41-17 win over visiting Richmond to open the 2007 season.

The Commodores, who lost 14-12 to Western Kentucky in their opener and had an opportunity to get within one score of Georgia in the final five minutes of an eventual 31-14 loss, didn't wait on late-game dramatics against the Governors of the Ohio Valley Conference.

Trailing 7-3 following a muffed punt and a short Austin Peay drive capped by Trey Taylor's 14-yard touchdown pass to Rashaan Coleman, Vanderbilt answered with a Ralph Webb 3-yard scoring run. The hosts' next two possessions resulted in a 38-yard field goal by Tommy Openshaw -- his second of the game -- and a Webb 9-yard pass from Johnny McCrary for a 19-7 halftime lead.

Webb added a 2-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter, Sherfield caught a 26-yard pass for a score and McCrary rushed for a 17-yard TD as the Commodores pulled away. Dallas Rivers added a late 4-yard scoring run.

McCrary, who was intercepted five times in Vanderbilt's two losses, finished with 368 passing yards and rushed for another 41. He connected on 28 of 33 passing attempts, completing 11 consecutive throws over a stretch of the second half.

The offensive rhythm seemed to rub off on the defense, which forced four three-and-out Austin Peay possessions -- three in the opening half when Vanderbilt took control of the contest.

The game marked the second football meeting between the two schools and the second win for Vanderbilt, following a 38-3 victory during the 2013 season, and was the eighth win for the Commodores against FCS competition in as many matchups since 2006. Last season, Vanderbilt defeated Charleston Southern 21-20.

Austin Peay (0-3) has been held to one score in each of its three defeats -- losing 28-7 to visiting Mercer in its opener and 52-6 at Southern Miss prior to Saturday's decision. The Governors finished with 144 total yards.