After a disappointing first game, Vanderbilt took to the field, looking to improve across the board, especially in the passing game. Early on, it seemed like much of the same one-dimensional offense that Commodore fans have been so used to over the past few years.
Then the anticipated storm came. And it stayed. The sidelines were flooded and lightning flashed overhead.
Fans were forced to vacate their seats, as most headed to Memorial Gym for safety. There is a required 30 minute wait time following the last strike of lightning nearby before play is allowed to resume. The student section cleared out and became a shell of its former self following the storm.
But not much later, Kyle Shurmur would go on to complete his first pass more than midway past the second quarter, and Vanderbilt dominated most of the game after the 104 minute inclement weather delay.
While the game itself was monumental because of the Commodores’ ability to put up 47 points against a team they squeaked out just 17 points against last year, there were other important happenings on and above the field.
Prior to kickoff, four helicopters flew over the field, as part of Marine Week ceremonies going on in Nashville. Several rows in front of the student section were reserved for members of the Marines, who sat and mingled with members of the ROTC program at Vanderbilt.
But the ceremony for Donny Everett seemed to overshadow that, as the parents of the deceased former Vanderbilt pitcher dropped the anchor in front of the crowd. Then after the first quarter, his parents came to the field again, as details about the new Donny Everett Scholarship were announced. The scholarship will be awarded to selected Vanderbilt baseball student-athletes. Additionally, the scoreboard displayed a short video of his time as a pitcher for the team. Everybody watched in silence, as players from both sides took a knee to honor Everett, who passed away during the NCAA regionals just a few months ago.
Back on the field for the second quarter, the game would only continue on to about the halfway point because of the severe weather. When Vanderbilt came back onto the field after the delay, their punt was blocked, leading to a quick MTSU touchdown. The lead was cut to two points, and the woes of last game and past two seasons loomed overhead.
However, Kyle Shurmur and Ralph Webb would lead the way on two touchdown drives before the end of the half. Shurmur passed for 84 yards on the two drives alone, as Webb ran for 53 of his career-high 211 yards. Vanderbilt entered halftime up 33-17 and would go on to hold a multiple score lead throughout the rest of the game.
Story by Josh Hamburger, Editor in Chief
Photos by Claire Barnett, Blake Dover, Monica Gallagher and Ziyi Liu, Photography Director