MUSIC CITY BOWL Vanderbilt 38, N.C. State 24
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Southeastern Conference is so strong that even Vanderbilt is winning like the Commodores haven’t in nearly a century.
Coach James Franklin says everyone better get used to it.
Jordan Rodgers threw two touchdown passes and ran for another score as the Commodores capped their best season since 1915 by defeating North Carolina State 38-24 in the Music City Bowl on Monday.
“We’re not going anywhere,” a smiling and teary Franklin said.
The Commodores finished 9-4 for their best record since going 9-1 in 1915, and it’s only the third time the smallest and only private university in the SEC has won as many as nine games in a season.
Vandy closed the season with seven straight wins for its longest streak since an eight-game run in 1948, and its 15 wins over the past two seasons is the program’s best total since 1926 and 1927.
“When you’re throwing out dates like 1915, you know that’s a very, very, very long time,” Franklin said.
Vanderbilt forced a season-high five turnovers, including four in the first half, and turned those into 17 points.
Interim coach Dana Bible ran N.C. State (7-6) after Tom O’Brien was fired at the end of the regular season. It was the Wolfpack’s fifth game of the season with at least four turnovers, and it helped wipe out a 424-225 advantage in total offense.
LIBERTY BOWL Tulsa 31, Iowa State 17
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Trey Watts rushed for 149 yards, Alex Singleton ran for three scores and Tulsa beat Iowa State (6-7) in the Liberty Bowl, avenging a season-opening loss to the Cyclones.
Iowa State rallied to beat Tulsa 38-23 on Sept. 1, but the Golden Hurricane put together the comeback in the rematch. Tulsa trailed 17-7 at the end of the first quarter.
The Golden Hurricane (11-3) scored two touchdowns in the first four minutes of the second quarter to pull ahead for good.