In a span of 55 seconds, Vanderbilt broke open a tight game.
It took only four plays to make it a blowout.
After a sluggish start, the Commodores went on a scoring tear in a 49-7 rout of winless Massachusetts on Saturday night in front of 32,227 at Vanderbilt Stadium.
Two late first-half touchdowns broke open a seven-point game and gave Vanderbilt a 21-0 lead going into halftime. Then in the third quarter, the Commodores poured it on. They scored four touchdowns in a span of five touches – on a pass, a run, an interception return and a punt return.
“That’s a pretty cool deal. I’ve never heard of that before. I’ve never seen it,” coach James Franklin said.
Vanderbilt (4-4) tied a season-high with 11 penalties for 80 yards and led just 7-0 midway through the second quarter. But after the defense made a stop on fourth down, the offense drove 72 yards in eight plays.
Jordan Rodgers hooked up with an open Kris Kentera for a 25-yard touchdown with 1:53 left in the first half. After a fumble by UMass (0-8) on the ensuing kickoff, Rodgers rushed in for a 4-yard with 58 seconds remaining.
“It was huge,” Rodgers said. “We needed it. We got off to a slow start and we needed to get a couple of those touchdowns late in the half to give us some momentum, some kind of confidence going into halftime.”
Rodgers started the scoring in the third quarter when he threw a 14-yard touchdown to Chris Boyd.
Trey Wilson followed by returning an interception 17 yards for a touchdown – the fourth of his career. On the first play of the next drive, freshman Brian Kimbrow raced 74 yards for a touchdown. He helped fill the void left by Zac Stacy, who injured his right ankle early in the first quarter and did not return.
Jonathan Krause ended the scoring by returning a punt 40 yards for a touchdown. It was Vanderbilt’s first punt return for a touchdown since Jimmy Williams scored on a 65-yard return against Northern Illinois on Sept. 11, 1999.
“I do think that we’re making some progress as a program when you win 49-7 and you’re not happy. That you feel like you could play better,” Franklin said. “I think that’s progress just because we have higher expectations.”