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Vanderbilt’s defense gets shredded in 66-38 loss to LSU

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Let’s call a spade a spade: this was an awful performance.

NCAA Football: Louisiana State at Vanderbilt Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Like the last time Vanderbilt’s defense faced a top five team, the LSU Tigers scored touchdowns on their first three offensive drives.

Unlike the last time Vanderbilt’s defense faced a top five team, this time, the points kept coming. Ke’Shawn Vaughn opened the scoring with a five-yard touchdown run to cap an eight-play, 75-yard drive following the opening kickoff. But LSU needed just 1:13 of game time to even the score, and after a quick three-and-out for the Vanderbilt offense, LSU needed just one play to take a 14-7 lead. Another three-and-out for Vanderbilt was countered with a 5-play, 67-yard touchdown drive for the Tigers to make it 21-7.

Vanderbilt’s subsequent drive at least got a first down on a 36-yard pass to Kalija Lipscomb — but then, the offense got stuffed on 4th and 1 at the LSU 30. Four plays later, LSU scored another touchdown, making the score 28-7 with 51 seconds remaining in the first quarter. Things briefly got better to begin the second quarter: Vanderbilt put together a drive that resulted in a field goal to cut LSU’s lead to 28-10, then finally forced a punt on LSU’s next drive. LSU moved the ball down into the red zone quickly on its next drive, but Vanderbilt held it to a field goal to make the score 31-10. With 1:56 left before halftime, LSU scored again on a 51-yard touchdown pass by Joe Burrow, making it 38-10.

Shortly before halftime, though, Vanderbilt got another touchdown when Clyde Edwards-Helaire fumbled deep in his own territory and Elijah McAllister fell on it in the end zone, making the halftime score 38-17. With LSU set to receive the ball to start the second half, Derek Mason decided to try to pull an onside kick.

It... did not work. LSU not only recovered the onside kick, but it ran it all the way down to the Vanderbilt 2 and scored on the next play, making it 45-17 in the Tigers’ favor.

The final score was 66-38, and that was with LSU playing the second string in the fourth quarter. The final damage for the Tigers’ offense was 599 yards on 73 offensive plays. Vanderbilt did manage 38 points, but the offense had 374 yards on 73 plays.

The Commodores are now 0-3 on the season and host Northern Illinois next Saturday.