Vanderbilt rallies to beat Tennessee State 35-17

(Photo: WKRN)
(Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Ralph Webb rushed for 125 yards and Khari Blasingame ran for 100 and three touchdowns in leading Vanderbilt to a 35-17 win over Tennessee State on Saturday night.

Kyle Shurmur completed 15 of 23 passes for 143 yards and one touchdown, giving Vanderbilt (4-4) its fifth homecoming win in the past six years. Vanderbilt fell behind 17-14 late in the first half before the rattling off three straight touchdowns.

Ronald Butler completed 19 of 30 passes for 285 yards, two touchdowns and one interception for Tennessee State (5-2) in the second all-time meeting between the Nashville schools that are only three miles apart.

Patrick Smith caught seven passes for 170 yards and two touchdowns for the Tigers, ranked 25th in the FCS polls.

Butler got Tennessee State off to a great start by throwing two touchdown passes to Smith on the Tigers’ first two possessions, including a 93-yarder on the game’s opening possession. But Tennessee State was unable to make it stand as it gave up 350 rushing yards to the Commodores.

Vanderbilt took its first lead at 21-17 with 1:46 left in the half after Darrius Sims had a 33-yard run to the 3 and Blasingame punched it in to cap a five-play, 78-yard drive.

Ralph Webb’s 49-yard run up the middle to the Tigers 24 got Vanderbilt off to a good start on the first play from scrimmage of the second half.

Blasingame’s third touchdown, this one from 4 yards, increased the Commodores’ lead to 28-17 with 12:54 left in the third quarter.

The Commodores’ Ryan White forced a fumble and Dare Odeyingbo recovered at the Vandy 30 early in the fourth quarter and Trent Sherfield’s 14-yard run capped the scoring for Vanderbilt with 6:08 left.

Tennessee State: The Tigers visit Murray State next Saturday.

Vanderbilt: The Commodores have a bye next week before visiting Auburn on Nov. 5.