NASHVILLE – Historic. 

Unfortunately for the Commodores, their 14-7 win over the visiting Kansas State may be the fourth-most talked about college football game Saturday involving the state’s major college teams. 

Their late-night win came … 

On the day that Tennessee was stunned on the final play in a 26-20 loss at Florida. 

On the day that Austin Peay broke the nation’s longest losing streak with a 69-13 win over Morehead State.

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On the day that Memphis pulled off a thrilling 48-45 win over visiting UCLA. 

Ironically, the Commodores may have been upstaged across the state while also gaining more attention across the nation.

The Commodores improved to 3-0 and proved that they can beat the cupcakes (Alabama A&M), the mediocre (Middle Tennessee) and a Top 25-ranked opponent (Kansas State, which was ranked No. 18 in the polls).

Bring on No. 1 Alabama. Next week.

Whoooa, not so fast.  The West End faithful deserve a few days to enjoy this one before thinking about the Crimson Tide’s invasion to Music City. 

“Let me enjoy this one for another hour and 45 minutes,” Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason said. 

The Commodores may have staked their claim for a Top 25 ranking with the victory. When the polls are released over the next 48 hours, Vandy could be ranked among the nation’s elite for the first time since ending the 2013 season with a win over Houston in the BBVA Compass Bowl.

“We don’t play for rankings,” Mason said. “We play the games to win … hopefully, (my words) don’t turn off the voters.”

Looking for more impressive historical facts? 

Saturday’s win was Vanderbilt’s fifth straight victory at home; it was the second consecutive win over a ranked team (c’mon, you haven’t forgotten the Commodores’ 45-34 win over Tennessee last November) …

And their first win over a ranked non-SEC team since Nov. 9, 1946 when they beat N.C. State, 7-0. That was 71 years ago … the year after World War II ended. 

The sellout crowd of 40,350 — arguably equally divided between Vanderbilt gold and black and Kansas State’s purple — was treated to an equally played game. 

Quarterback Kyle Shurmur, who won the first two games with his passing arm, won this game with his legs.

With the game tied 7-7 midway through the fourth period, had a third down at the Kansas State 2-yard line.

Shurmur picked up a bad snap that hit the turf in front of him. After quickly surveying the field in front of him, he ran through a small hole on the left side of the field, stretching his left arm (with the ball) across the goal line as he was tackled. The touchdown, with 8:23 left, snapped a 7-7 tie and gave the Commodores the eventual 14-7 winning margin. 

“When something goes wrong, you try to minimize the damage,” Shurmur said. “I tried to get all I could.”

Shurmur, who passed for 498 yards and seven touchdowns in the first two Vandy wins, was held to 205 passing yards on 14-of-23 passing against the Wildcats. 

Shurmur threw his eighth touchdown of the season on the Commodores’ second series, capping an 84-yard scoring drive with a 2-yard scoring pass to C.J. Duncan, his first touchdown reception since 2014. 

In the end, however, it was the Vanderbilt defense that came up with several big fourth-quarter stops to preserve the win. 

Three times the Wildcats drove inside the Commodores’ territory in the final 15 minutes. Three times the Commodores’ defense came up with big defensive plays

LaDarius Wiley and Ryan White interceptions halted Wildcat drives, both coming within a four-minute span early in the fourth period. 

But it wasn’t until linebacker Oren Burks and free safety LaDarius Wiley stopped Wildcats quarterback Jesse Ertz at the Vanderbilt 12 with 52 seconds left that the victory was secured. 

“We’re going to celebrate this win, but at 12 o’clock (midnight, Sunday morning), we are on to the next game,” White said. 

Then it will be time to bring on No. 1 Alabama .

And certainly next Saturday’s afternoon game – already programmed for a nationally televised audience – will gain everyone’s attention. 

Reach Dave Ammenheuser at 615-476-8288 and on Twitter @NashSportsEd.

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