The Kansas State Wildcats were defeated by the Vanderbilt Commodores 14-7 on Saturday evening in front of a sold out crowd at Dudley Field in Nashville, Tennessee. K-StateSports.com estimated that 17,000 of the 40,350 people in attendance were K-State fans.
Both teams started hot out of the gate. Each offense scored on their second drive to tie the game at 7. Vanderbilt quarterback Kyle Shurmur connected with C.J. Duncan on a roll-out for a two-yard touchdown pass. Jesse Ertz responded with a 15-yard touchdown run on the ensuing possession.
After that, the game just kind of chugged along. The two teams traded punts until the fourth quarter in a defensive battle that was more stressful than exciting.
Blood pressures across the stadium spiked when Ertz threw an interception to Vanderbilt’s LaDarius Wiley that was returned to the Wildcats 39-yard line in the fourth quarter. K-State would force a fumble, only for Ertz to throw another interception. K-State wouldn’t get as lucky this time as Shurmur sneaked in for a two-yard run-in for a touchdown.
K-State had ample opportunities to score. D.J. Reed had a punt return in the third quarter was called back on a block in the back by Brogan Barry. Reed also had a scoop-and-score called back after review revealed that Shurmur was reportedly down before fumbling the ball.
Kicker Matthew McCrane missed a 42-yard field goal attempt in the second quarter that would have put K-State up 10-7.
At the very end, Ertz was stopped one yard short on a fourth and 8 scramble. After the turnover on downs, Shurmur was able to kneel out the clock and ice the victory.
Vanderbilt and K-State played similar styles, they both tried to possess the ball and grind out the clock. Statistically, the Wildcats had seven more yards and possessed the ball for less than a minute more. The major differences were in turnover margain, 2-1, and penalty yards, K-State lost 68 yards and the Commodores lost 50.
Ertz was the leader for the offense, as he threw 10/28 passes for 76 yds and two interceptions. He was also the leading rusher with 126 yards and a touchdown. Justin Silmon came back on the field for the season, where he rushed for 41 yards on three drives.
K-State punter Nick Walsh finished the game with 209 yards after six kicks. Before this game, Walsh only saw the field twice the past two games.
The defense held their ground during the game, including a sack for linebacker Will Geary. Linebacker Trent Tanking set a new career high with 10 tackles on the night, and linebacker Jayd Kirby also had a career night, recording eight tackles.
Vanderbilt recorded their first win over a ranked, non-conference opponent since 1946. This is the first 3-0 start the Commodores have had since 2011.Vanderbilt will host Alabama next week, who are also 3-0.
The Wildcats will have a bye week this week, and will return to action Sept. 30 where they will face the 0-3 Baylor Bears at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.