Vanderbilt annihilates Hawaii 63-10, scores most points in a game since 1969

Vanderbilt’s revamped defense did not allow Hawaii to score a single point in the second half.

Mike+Wright+scored+four+touchdowns+on+Saturday+night%2C+leading+the+Commodores+to+a+63-10+victory%2C+as+photographed+on+Aug.+27%2C+2022.+%28Photo+courtesy+of+Vanderbilt+Athletics%29

Vanderbilt Athletics

Mike Wright scored four touchdowns on Saturday night, leading the Commodores to a 63-10 victory, as photographed on Aug. 27, 2022. (Photo courtesy of Vanderbilt Athletics)

Andrew Wilf, Deputy Sports Editor

Editor’s note: Vanderbilt Athletics sponsored a trip to Hawaii for Deputy Sports Editor Andrew Wilf, granting him on-site access to the team’s day-to-day activities for journalistic purposes.

In their first meeting with Hawaii in school history, Vanderbilt thrashed the Rainbow Warriors 63-10. The Commodores had a lethargic start to the game but quickly tightened their act up and ran away with the lead.

“Everything’s personal this year, I don’t know how else to put it,” safety Maxwell Worship told the Hustler. “Honestly, I wanted 70 points on the scoreboard. I wasn’t satisfied.”

After coming into the game as 9.5-point favorites, the nation expected Vanderbilt to shut down Hawaii’s offense early. That narrative looked to be in question, as Hawaii enforced its identity right from the get-go. In their first drive of the game, the Rainbow Warriors drove the ball from their own 25-yard line into Vanderbilt’s endzone. The drive was capped off with a 37-yard rushing touchdown from Dedrick Parson. The majority of the first quarter was dominated by Hawaii, but it was all Vanderbilt the rest of the way.

With 4:18 minutes left in the first quarter, Vanderbilt had the ball on their own 10-yard line. In just eight plays, Mike Wright—the junior quarterback—marched his offense down the field to tie the game at seven apiece. This 90-yard drive included 42 rushing yards from Rocko Griffin and a 1-yard touchdown reception from Will Sheppard. 

We know who we are, as an offense,” Wright said. “We know who we are as a team. And, I mean, they just came out and they scored but we weren’t fazed at all. And I think you can kind of see that.”

Just a few moments after the Commodore offense scored, Vanderbilt added to their lead. With less than a minute left in the first quarter, Worship forced a fumble that ended up in the hands of Anfernee Orji, who sprinted for a touchdown the other way. The spectacular play was the ultimate turning point on Saturday night, as the Commodores would add to their lead the rest of the night. 

Vanderbilt carried over their momentum into the second quarter, scoring in the first drive of the period. Hawaii, down 7-14, looked to strike into the lead when they were in Vanderbilt’s red zone. The Commodores denied Hawaii and forced the Rainbow Warriors to a field goal. In the next possession of the game, the Commodores scored off of a 10-play drive that ended with a rushing touchdown from Wright. The rest of the quarter would be an exchange of scoreless drives between the opposing teams. In the second quarter, Vanderbilt averaged 6.7 yards per play, while Hawaii averaged 3.6 yards per play. 

Coming out of the halftime break, Vanderbilt kept their foot on the gas pedal and scored in their first drive of the half. The Commodores’ first offensive play of the half was a 39-yard rush from Ray Davis, which was followed by a 10-yard rushing touchdown from Griffin two plays later. With 56 seconds elapsed in the third quarter, the Commodores found themselves with a 28-10 lead. Lea’s defense enforced their will the rest of the night, not allowing Hawaii to score a single point in the second half.

“I thought coach Howell did an incredible job,” Lea said. “We have players that are playing with total effort and can make plays for us, and they did that.”

Vanderbilt’s offense continued to wreak havoc, scoring four more touchdowns in the half. Entering the fourth quarter, Vanderbilt led Hawaii 56-10. Vanderbilt’s play was strong enough to rest their starters in the fourth quarter. Wright ended his night with 309 total yards and four touchdowns.

“We had early success with our offense,” Wright said. “We caught a flow and we just stayed true to the game plan. That’s all we were out there to do.”

Vanderbilt will return to the gridiron next Saturday, Sept. 3, at 6 p.m. CDT, when they will clash with Elon. The Commodores defeated the Pheonix 45-14 the last time they played each other, which was on Sept. 3, 2011.