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Vanderbilt tops Elon on Mike Wright’s big day

Vanderbilt wide receiver Will Sheppard (14) races past Elon defensive back Tre'Von Jones (2) for a touchdown during the second quarter at FirstBank Stadium Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022, in Nashville, Tenn.Nas Elon Vanderbilt 017
Credit: George Walker IV / Tennessean.com / USA TODAY NETWORK

Mike Wright threw for four touchdowns and rushed for two more as Vanderbilt beat visiting Elon 42-31 on Saturday night in Nashville, Tenn.

The Commodores improved to 2-0, matching last year’s win total. They’ve won their first two games for the first time since 2018.

Wright racked up 245 passing yards by completing 18 of 29 throws. He also gained 84 yards on 11 carries. Ray Davis rushed 20 times for 95 yards.

Elon quarterback Matthew McKay, a former starter at North Carolina State and Montana State, threw two touchdown passes and also rushed for two scores. He was 19-for-32 for 333 yards without an interception in the air, and contributed a team-high 52 yards on the ground.

Vanderbilt used a goal-line stand in the final minute to stop Elon twice on running plays from the 1-yard line to curtail a late rally.

The Commodores, who opened the season a week earlier by routing Hawaii, raced to a 21-0 lead in less than 13 1/2 minutes of this one. Wright scored on a 5-yard run before throwing scoring passes of 75 yards to Jayden McGowan and 6 yards to Will Sheppard.

Elon (0-1) posted the next 10 points, beginning with McKay’s 75-yard pass play to Chandler Brayboy, followed by Skyler Davis’ 48-yard field goal.

Wright threw for 26 yards to Sheppard for a TD with 35 seconds left in the half to restore order. The Vanderbilt quarterback then began the second-half scoring on a 44-yard run before McKay narrowed the gap on a 5-yard run.

Elon closed within 35-24 on McKay’s 22-yard touchdown strike to Jackson Parham on the last play of the third quarter.

Then the Phoenix regained possession following a Vanderbilt punt and moved into Commodores’ territory. A Parham fumble gave the ball back to Vanderbilt, which needed just four plays to cover 57 yards to the end zone as Wright connected with Davis on a 9-yard scoring play.

The game began after a roughly 25-minute weather delay.

–Field Level Media