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RECAP: Vanderbilt Commodores beat Colorado State Rams with field goal in closing seconds

RECAP: Vanderbilt Commodores beat Colorado State Rams with field goal in closing seconds
Vanderbilt running back Re’Mahn Davis pushes through the CSU defense on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, at Canvas Stadium. The Commodores beat the Rams, 24-21. Jon Austria/The Coloradoan via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Joe Bulovas connected on a 38-yard field goal with 19 seconds left Saturday night as Vanderbilt rallied from an early two-touchdown deficit to nip Colorado State 24-21 in a non-conference game in Fort Collins, Colo.

The Commodores drove 40 yards in eight plays, aided mainly by a pair of 15-yard penalties on the Rams. Bulovas’ kick evened Vanderbilt’s record at 1-1 and presented new coach Clark Lea with his first career win.

Colorado State (0-2) tied the game with 3:07 left when Todd Centeio hit Trey McBride with a 3-yard touchdown pass. Centeio completed 20 of 38 passes for 238 yards and two touchdowns with one interception while rushing for 75 yards on 11 carries. McBride finished with eight catches for 114 yards.

Commodores quarterback Ken Seals overcame a slow start to hit on 26 of 41 attempts for 236 yards with two scores. Re’Mahn Davis rushed 17 times for 77 yards, while Cam Johnson grabbed eight passes for 64 yards and a touchdown.

Colorado State controlled most of the first half, taking a 7-0 lead just 2:03 into the game when Centeio found David Bailey for a 3-yard touchdown pass. The margin reached 14-0 when Bailey ripped off a 20-yard scoring run 52 seconds into the second quarter.

Vanderbilt’s offense, which was shut down by FCS opponent East Tennessee State last week in a season-opening 23-3 loss, finally found a rhythm late in the second quarter. Seals threw for 48 yards on a 58-yard drive, connecting with Chris Pierce on a 20-yard strike over the middle with 47 seconds left in the half.

Seals’ hot hand continued into the third quarter as he hit 6 of 7 passes on the tying touchdown drive, teaming up with Johnson for a 9-yard score at the 9:36 mark.

After a 3-and-out, Seals exploited the Rams’ secondary again for completions of 25, 11 and 15 yards before his 1-yard sneak with 5:32 remaining gave the Commodores their first lead.

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–Field Level Media