Second half surge carries Vanderbilt past Rice again

Sunday, September 27, 2009 at 12:03am
Staff reports

Myron Lewis intercepted two passes, Larry Smith passed for a career-high 268 yards and Vanderbilt scored the first 20 points of the second half on its way to a 36-17 victory over Rice on Saturday in Houston.

Freshman kicker Ryan Fowler broke a halftime tie and put the Commodores (2-2) ahead to stay with a 33-yard field goal 10:25 into the third quarter. Fowler then capped the run of 20 straight points with a 23-yard field goal with 10:57 to play in the contest.

In between, Smith scored on a 6-yard touchdown run and freshman Warren Norman had a 58-yard touchdown run.

It was the second straight year Vanderbilt and Rice (0-4) were tied at halftime. Last year in Nashville, the Commodores outscored the Owls 17-0 over the final two quarters.

Smith completed 23 of 41 passes – both career-highs. All but three of his completions were to wide receivers.

Redshirt-freshman John Cole had seven catches for 67 yards. He also scored the game’s first touchdown on a 31-yard run. Udom Umoh added a game-high 95 receiving yards, on five receptions.

Norman led all rushers with 119 yards on 11 carries. It was the second 100-yard game of the season for the true freshman.

Senior Jared Hawkins played for the first time after having missed the first three games with a foot injury. He gained 61 yards on 11 attempts.

Lewis recorded his first two interceptions of the season in the fourth quarter. The first came with 12:47 to play and led to Fowler’s last field goal. The second ended Rice’s final offensive possession.

Linebacker Patrick Benoist and cornerback Eddie Foster added one interception. It was the first time since last season’s 23-17 victory over Ole Miss – also the fourth game – that Vanderbilt intercepted four passes in a game.