Vanderbilt football falls to #4 LSU 66-38

Vanderbilt suffers its third straight loss to start the 2019 season

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Vanderbilt football falls to #4 LSU 66-38

Vanderbilt hosts #4 LSU on Saturday, September 21. Photo by Hunter Long

Vanderbilt hosts #4 LSU on Saturday, September 21. Photo by Hunter Long

Vanderbilt hosts #4 LSU on Saturday, September 21. Photo by Hunter Long

Vanderbilt hosts #4 LSU on Saturday, September 21. Photo by Hunter Long

JP Hefner, Staff Writer

In front of a crowd of 32,000 fans, the Vanderbilt Commodores faced the #4 LSU Tigers on  Saturday, Sept. 21. The Tigers entered the game as 22.5-point favorites, and easily covered the spread. Meanwhile, the Commodores continue to search for their first win of the season. 

On the first play of the game, running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn broke free on a 41-yard rush into LSU territory. Vaughn had 55 yards on four carries during the drive, which he capped with a five-yard touchdown run. 

LSU responded on the following drive by scoring on a Joe Burrow touchdown pass to wide receiver Justin Jefferson. The five-play, 75-yard drive took just a minute and 13 seconds to tie up the game at 7-7. 

LSU scored its second touchdown on a 64-yard Ja’Marr Chase touchdown from Joe Burrow. The Tigers scored their third touchdown of the first quarter on a nine-yard touchdown run by Clyde Edwards-Helaire. 

The Commodores responded with a 36-yard reception by wide receiver Kalija Lipscomb. Later in the drive, the Commodores went for it on fourth-and-one and came up just short of the line to gain. Vaughn got caught running laterally to his right, and couldn’t push forward for the final yard. 

LSU quarterback Joe Burrow continued to sling the ball around the first quarter, delivering a 25-yard touchdown strike to wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase. At the end of the first quarter, the Tigers led 28-7 with 260 total yards and four touchdowns. Vanderbilt’s defense did not have any answers for LSU’s explosive offense. LSU had the ball for just over four and a half minutes in the first quarter and managed to score 28 points on the Commodores.

A 28-yard reception by Vanderbilt wide receiver Cam Johnson brought the Commodores into LSU territory to start the second quarter. Vanderbilt kicker Ryley Guay connected on a 41-yard field goal to tighten the score to 28-10. 

LSU kicker Cade York made a 25-yard field goal to increase the lead to 21 points again. On the ensuring LSU drive, Chase recorded his third touchdown catch of the day on a 51-yard pass from Burrow. 

At the end of the first half, Vanderbilt punter Harrison Smith pinned the Tigers at their own five-yard line, which set up an Elijah McAllister fumble recovery in the endzone for Vanderbilt’s first defensive touchdown. The LSU Tigers led Vanderbilt 38-17 at halftime.

The LSU offensive line completely dominated the Vanderbilt defensive front during the first half of the game. At one point, 343-pound LSU left guard Adrian McGee was on a mission to pancake block as many Commodores defenders as possible.

The LSU offense maximized offensive possessions by spreading the field and airing it out. The Commodore defense struggled to contain LSU’s tremendous wide receiver corps of Ja’Marr Chase, Terrace Marshall Jr. and Justin Jefferson.

The Vanderbilt defense could not tackle throughout the game and looked physically outmatched in the secondary. 

The second half started with a Vanderbilt onside kick, which was recovered by LSU. The Tigers scored on the next play, as Joe Burrow found wide receiver Racey McMath in the end zone.

The Commodores responded with a 26-yard Cam Johnson reception followed by a 52-yard breakaway touchdown run by Ke’Shawn Vaughn, which brought the score to 45-24. 

Joe Burrow delivered a perfect 16-yard touchdown pass to Ja’Marr Chase to increase LSU’s lead to 52-24. Burrow ended the day with 398 yards and six touchdowns, while only playing three quarters.

“Joe Burrow is one of the best quarterbacks in the country,” Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason said. “I love his competitive spirit.”

Ja’Marr Chase had a career outing, too, posting 229 receiving yards and four touchdowns on ten receptions.

The LSU defense dominated the second half, blocking a Vanderbilt punt for a touchdown and forcing two interceptions. LSU freshman cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. intercepted Riley Neal on a 50-50 ball downfield. The former five-star recruit looked the part of an elite college corner, as he recorded three pass breakups and five tackles. Junior safety JaCoby Stevens picked off Neal later in the fourth quarter. 

Vanderbilt responded on the following drive as quarterback Riley Neal connected with Kalija Lipscomb for an 18-yard touchdown pass. The Commodore offense looked impressive, especially considering the elite LSU secondary. Neal finished the game with 206 passing yards and one touchdown.  

During the fourth quarter, LSU freshman running back John Emery Jr. ran for a six-yard touchdown to bring the score to 66-31.

Vanderbilt cornerback Randall Haynie intercepted LSU backup quarterback Myles Brennan and returned it for a touchdown for Vanderbilt’s second defensive touchdown of the game. 

Overall, the game exposed weaknesses throughout the Vanderbilt defense and provides Coach Mason with a lot to work on before facing Northern Illinois next Saturday. After the performance on Saturday, Coach Mason looked forward to the rest of this season.

“Today we showed that we can score points, Now let’s go on a run,” Mason said. “Commodore nation, let’s get ready to go on a run. Anchor Down.”

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