From Vanderbilt Athletics –
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Kyle Shurmur threw for 296 yards and tied his career-high with three touchdowns as the Vanderbilt Commodores beat Middle Tennessee 28-6 Saturday night in the season opener for both teams.
The Commodores snapped a five-year skid in season openers to give coach Derek Mason his first victory to kick off his fourth season in charge. They also won their third straight against the Conference USA school 37 miles away from Nashville.
“It was really important because for us it’s something we hadn’t done here in my tenure, so we got it done tonight,” Mason said. “So now we move on.”
Vanderbilt came out throwing with Shurmur, and the junior quarterback didn’t disappoint. He completed 13 of his first 14 passes, including a 37-yard TD pass to Kalija Lipscomb to cap the opening drive. He added a 4-yard TD pass to Lipscomb for a 21-0 lead minutes into the second quarter.
Ralph Webb, the Commodores’ all-time leading rusher, also added a 1-yard TD run. Shurmur hit Webb on a swing pass that the senior took 73 yards for a 28-0 lead in the third.
The Commodores smothered what was a high-powered offense in 2016 with Middle Tennessee running up 495 yards against Vanderbilt last season. The Blue Raiders averaged 517.7 yards and ranked 12th nationally scoring 39.7 points per game.
Bryce Lewis intercepted a tipped pass to set up Webb’s TD, and the Commodores also sacked Stockstill five times. The Blue Raiders avoided being shut out at home when Stockstill found Richie James for a 22-yard TD early in the fourth .
“It was a complete mismatch,” Middle Tennessee coach Rick Stockstill said. “They were a lot better than us.”