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McCrary-Sherfield connection propels Vanderbilt past Austin Peay

Johnny McCrary completed 28 of 33 passes for 368 yards and two touchdowns against William & Mary. AP Photo/Mark Humphrey

Vanderbilt had seen this before. Two games into the season, the Commodores had scored 26 points, committed six turnovers and converted just four of 18 red zone opportunities into touchdowns.

Derek Mason's defense had been impressive, but that's expected. The offense needed to establish something to build on against FCS Austin Peay, which had been competitive in its recent games against FBS opponents.

After an all too familiar start, quarterback Johnny McCrary, wide receiver Trent Sherfield and the offense finally got rolling, and Vanderbilt notched its first win of the season, a 47-7 triumph. The Commodores scored touchdowns on three of four possessions to erase an early Governors lead and pull away.

What the win means for Vanderbilt: Well, it's a start. Vanderbilt (1-2) absolutely had to have a victory and a strong offensive performance before hitting the road for five of its next six games, beginning next week at Ole Miss. After completing just half of his passes in the first two games, McCrary showed precision, connecting on 28 of 33 attempts for 368 yards with two touchdowns and a rushing score. Despite the presence of touchdown-scoring running back Ralph Webb, Vanderbilt continues to be more of a pass-oriented attack with McCrary at the helm. The defense smothered Austin Peay's run game and allowed only a short scoring drive following a fumbled punt. Sherfield further established himself as McCrary's top target, breaking Earl Bennett's single-game team record with 240 receiving yards on 16 catches.

What the loss means for Austin Peay: The Governors hung in there for a while, a step forward after getting crushed 52-6 last week against Southern Miss. Austin Peay's woeful offense had been reliant on occasional big plays and couldn't make many against a sound Vanderbilt defense. The Governors remain on the road for the third consecutive week as they open Ohio Valley Conference play next week against Eastern Kentucky.

Stat of the game: Vanderbilt had just one scoring drive longer than 55 yards in its first two games. The Commodores had four of them Saturday, marching for touchdowns on drive of 78, 75, 71 and 68 yards.

Uh, what? When your team is starving for points, you might want to take them. Vanderbilt took a 19-7 lead just before halftime, but rather than take the extra point, Derek Mason went for two from a bizarre formation. The ugly looking play ended with holder Kris Kentera intentionally grounding the ball. Vanderbilt ended up scoring plenty of points, but the call there was a head scratcher.