Defense leads Vanderbilt over EMU, 30-7

Broderick Stewart (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

NASHVILLE-- Vanderbilt rumbled to a 20-0 lead over Eastern Michigan and held on for a 30-7 victory to improve to 3-1 on the season. Earl Bennett caught 9 passes including one for a touchdown and the Commodore defense limited Eastern Michigan to just 173 total offensive yards.

With 5:43 remaining in the first quarter a 22-yard field goal by Bryant Hahnfeldt gave the Commodores an early 3-0 lead after a 10 play, 39-yard drive.

Vanderbilt quarterback Chris Nickson completed a 47-yard pass to Earl Bennett to extend Vanderbilt's lead to 10-0 with 3:03 remaining in the initial quarter.

Bryant Hahnfeldt made a 45-yard field goal to put the Commodores up 13-0 at the half. Hahnfeldt missed a kick from 50-yard earlier but was allowed to re-kick after a 5-yard penalty on EMU was accessed.

With 11:40 remaining in the third quarter Nickson found Sean Walker for his second touchdown pass of the day. Walker caught four passes during the game. A extra point kick by Hahnfeldt built Vandy's lead to 20-0 with 11:40 left in the third quarter.

Eastern Michigan quarterback Andy Schmitt completed a 14-yard touchdown pass to score the Eagles their only points of the night with 5:49 remaining in the third.

Vanderbilt's defense struck back as D.J. Moore intercepted a Schmitt pass and returned the ball 24 yards for a Vanderbilt touchdown. The Commodores led 27-7 with 3:11 remaining in the third.

Bryant Hahnfeldt's third field goal of the night, this time from 27-yards, pushed the Vanderbilt lead up to 23 at 30-7. <>P Both teams had problems offensively all night. Vanderbilt's Nickson tossed 4 interceptions and the Commodore defense intercepted Eastern Michigan quarterback 5 times. Nickson finished the night completing 14 of 28 passes for 168 yards. Back-up quarterback Mackenzi Adams played some late in the fourth quarter but did not attempt a pass.

Vanderbilt improves to 3-1 with the win. The Commodores travel to Auburn next Saturday. Eastern Michigan falls to 2-3. The Eagle will next face Michigan next Saturday in Ann Arbor.

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