Jordan Rodgers threw for 216 yards and rushed for another 57 but lost two fumbles, the second with 1:47 to play as Vanderbilt lost 23-13 to Northwestern on Saturday at Evanston, Ill.
The Wildcats (2-0) put the game out of reach with Kain Colter’s 22-yard touchdown run just 23 seconds after they recovered Rodgers’ second fumble. They scored their final 17 points in the last 9:28 of the contest and outscored the Commodores 20-3 in the second half.
Rodgers’ fumbles were the only giveaways by either team. The first came at the Northwestern 11 with 39 seconds to play in the first half.
Vanderbilt (0-2) led 10-3 at halftime but at one point went three-and-out on three straight second-half possessions.
The offense finally got going again after Northwestern took a 13-10 lead. The Commodores drove 60 yards -- the bulk of them on a 54-yard catch-and-run by running back Zac Stacy -- to set up Carey Spear’s game-tying field goal with 5:21 remaining.
Rodgers and Vanderbilt got off to a fast start with a 13-play, 77-yard touchdown drive on the game’s opening possession. Jordan Matthews’ 22-yard reception capped the drive.
The Commodores were outgained 324-322 for the game. Northwestern’s go-ahead field goal came after a successful conversion on third-and-15. Colter’s touchdown run was on third-and-19.
Stacy rushed for just 36 yards on 13 carries but his lone reception was the longest play for either side. Matthews finished with six receptions (only one after halftime) for 75 yards, and Chris Boyd had six catches for 76 yards.
Venric Mark led Northwestern with 123 rushing yards and one touchdown on 24 carries.