COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Vanderbilt’s defense came up with three takeaways and quarterback Ken Seals impressed in his debut, but the Commodores fell 17-12 at No. 10 Texas A&M ON Saturday at Kyle Field in College Station, Texas.
Vanderbilt (0-1, 0-1 SEC) took an early lead six minutes into the contest before trailing the final 48:33 of the contest. The Aggies totaled 372 yards of offense.
Seals finished his debut 20 of 29 for 150 yards and a touchdown and became the third true freshman in the SEC to start his team’s season-opener since the 2000 season. The Texas native threw a touchdown pass but was also intercepted twice.
The Commodores will welcome No. 6 LSU (0-1, 0-1 SEC) at 6:30 p.m. Saturday.
Texas A&M began the fourth quarter clinging to a 14-12 lead. That advantage was lengthened to 17-12 thanks a 24-yard field goal by Seth Small with 14 minutes to play.
With 10:19 remaining and the Aggies driving, Vandy suddenly had life when it got its third takeaway of the day when defensive tackle Daevion Davis stripped the ball and recovered it at the Vanderbilt 42. Vandy drove to the Texas A&M 20 – but things went awry from there.
Seals was sacked for a 10-yard loss and then, on the next play, was picked off by Leon O’Neal.
But once again the Vanderbilt defense came up with a play and made a fourth-down stop at its own 36 with 4:56 to go. The Dores’ offense, however, couldn’t put a drive together to threaten to take the lead.
The Aggies (1-0, 1-0 SEC) were able to run the clock out from there.
Vanderbilt’s opening drive was kept alive by a 21-yard third-down run by Marlow and a third-down throw from Seals to wide receiver Cam Johnson. That series stalled at the Texas A&M 15 where Pierson Cooke came on and hit a 33-yard field goal making it 30.
The Commodores ran 13 plays and ate 6:02 of clock to begin the 2020 season.
Texas A&M put together its first scoring opportunity toward the end of the period by marching to the Vanderbilt 25. On a second-down play from there, Ainias Smith took an option pitch to the right and raced through the Vandy defense for six to give the Aggies a 7-3 lead.
The Vanderbilt defense came up with a big stop midway through the second quarter when Andre Mintze swiped the ball out of Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond’s right hand. Deshaun Jerkins recovered the loose ball and the Commodores took over at their own 38.
Vandy’s offense couldn’t capitalize, but a Harrison Smith punt that was fielded in the end zone drew a Texas A&M personal foul penalty and resulted in a safety. That brought the Commodores within 7-5 with 7:23 to go in the first half.
That’s where the score would stand going into the break. Vanderbilt outgunned Texas A&M 154-122 and had an 18:29-11:31 advantage in time of possession. The Aggies gained just 37 yards of offense in their final three offensive possessions of the first half.
Texas A&M wasted little time denting in the scoreboard in the second half. A 57-yard run by Isaiah Spiller put the Aggies in the red zone and then, one play later, Mond found Caleb Chapman on a 17-yard touchdown pass making it 14-5.
That turnover led to a nine-play, 43-yard drive that ended with Seals rolling right at the Texas A&M 7 and finding Amir Abdur-Rahman in the back of the end zone for a touchdown.
BANG. Seals ➡️ Abdur-Rahman 💥
— Vanderbilt Football (@VandyFootball) September 27, 2020
The Commodores put themselves in position to come away with victory by going into the fourth quarter down just 14-12.