<
>

Vanderbilt has that winning formula down pat

10/11/2008

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

You've got to hand it to Vanderbilt. The Commodores are doing it again.

They have exactly 43 yards of total offense at the half, yet are leading Mississippi State 7-3.

Bobby Johnson's club, seeking its first 6-0 start since 1928, has mastered the art of winning despite being consistently outgained by the other team all season. In this one, the Bulldogs have 101 more yards of total offense (144) at the half.

The difference, as it has been on several occasions for the Commodores this season, is special teams.

Punter Brett Upson pinned Mississippi State on its own 2-yard line. The Bulldogs couldn't move the ball, and their punter, Blake McAdams, shanked one out of bounds.

Vanderbilt quarterback Chris Nickson, playing with a bum shoulder, scored on a 1-yard touchdown run just before the half in a drive that started at the Mississippi State 17-yard line.

Talk about being efficient ... and squeezing everything you can out of 43 yards of total offense.

The even better news for the Commodores is that they now enter their half. They've outscored the opposition 58-10 in the second half this season and have shut out their last three opponents in the second half.