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Vanderbilt falls in Texas Bowl to Baylor

A tough pill to swallow for the Commodores.

Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl - Baylor v Vanderbilt Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

The SEC’s bowl season got off to an auspicious start, as the Vanderbilt Commodores fell to the Baylor Bears in the Texas Bowl, 45-38.

The Commodores and Bears were locked in a tightly contested battle that turned into a frenzy down the stretch. Six touchdowns were scored in the second half, three of them coming in the final quarter.

The two teams traded blows, and Vanderbilt looked to make a run towards the win column after Khari Blasingame’s second touchdown of the second half. But, Baylor answered back with a touchdown just 12 seconds later. Vandy tied the game up, but Marques Jones caught a 52-yard touchdown pass from Charlie Brewer that put Baylor up for good in the final tow minutes.

The Commodore defense simply had no answer for Baylor. The Bears gained 668 net total yards on the night, 384 coming through the air off 35 attempts. Baylor ran 19 more plays and had eight more first downs, as well. Their offense was able to make it happen thanks to Blasingame and Ke’Shawn Vaughn, but they were certainly lit up and it cost them dearly.

Kyle Shurmur wrapped up his Vanderbilt career with a pretty decent outing. Shurmur went 18-for-37 for 286 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions. He threw passes to five different receivers, including Kalija Lipscomb, who led with six receptions. Blasingame scored the team’s lone receiving touchdown on the night, and led in receiving yards with 85. Jared Pinkney had 76 on his own.

Ke’Shawn Vaughn rolled over the Bear defense for 243 yards and two touchdowns. He needed only 13 carries to get to that mark, an absurd stat to behold, even in the loss. Blasingame had 16 yards and, like Vaughn, had two rushing scores.

The Commodores end the season at 6-7, which makes it five straight seasons finishing under .500. The last time they were above .500 was 2013, which was of course the last year of the James Franklin era in Nashville.