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Vanderbilt eludes upset-minded Northern Illinois to grab first win of the season

The Commodores finally etch a tally in the win column.

NCAA Football: Northern Illinois at Vanderbilt Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The Vanderbilt Commodores will exit the month of September with at least one tally in the win column.

The Commodores finally etched that aforementioned tally on Saturday with their 24-18 defeat of the Northern Illinois Huskies. It got a little dicey towards the end, but the ‘Dores were able to survive and leave with a W to avoid going winless through the first five weeks of the season.

Ke’Shawn Vaughn stood out amongst the pack in Vandy’s win. Vaughn ran for 138 yards and a touchdown, and needed just 17 carries to get to that point. His robust 8.1 yards per carry stole the show to say the least, and it could even be argued that he might’ve earned himself some more carries along the way.

Riley Neal went 21-for-28 on his passes for just 189 yards. He threw a touchdown pass to Kalija Lipscomb, his favorite target of the day, as Lipscomb led with seven receptions and 94 receiving yards. Cam Johnson was right behind him with six receptions of his own, and piled up 64 receiving yards. No other Commodore receiver had more than 11 receiving yards on the day, but Neal definitely did what he had to do under center.

Things did get shaky for Vandy down the stretch though. The Huskies scored a touchdown to make it 24-18 at the 13:46 mark in the fourth quarter. That six-play, 75-yard drive took just 2:02 to complete, supplanting some pressure on the Dores in the process. They responded with a six-play, 10-yard rive that gave the ball back to the Huskies with 8:29 to go.

But the Commodores defense was able to hold strong. 5:19 later, the Huskies punted from their own 48-yard line. Vandy proceeded to run the rest of the clock out and garnered their first victory in the process.