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PHOTO COURTESY OF VANDERBILT ATHLETICS

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Vanderbilt jumped to an early three-score lead and improved to 2-0 on the season with a 42-31 victory over Elon Saturday night at FirstBank Stadium.

With the victory, the Commodores matched head coach Clark Lea’s win total for all of his debut season in the first two games to start this season. It’s Vanderbilt’s first 2-0 start since 2018 as the Commodores spoiled Elon’s season opener.

Matthew McKay and Elon sure made it interesting late after pulling within 11. Vanderbilt forced a turnover and stopped a pair of fourth-and-1 attempts in the final 3:19, the second just outside its own goal line with 49 seconds left.

Vanderbilt quarterback Mike Wright, who scored four touchdowns in Vanderbilt’s season-opening win in Hawai’i, topped the previous record matched by Earl Bennett against Kentucky in 2005 and set by Frank Mordica with five touchdowns against Air Force in 1978.

The quarterback put Vanderbilt ahead to stay with a 5-yard touchdown run, then dropped the ball into Jayden McGowan’s hands for a 75-yard catch and run up the Vanderbilt sideline. McGowan finished with four receptions for 118 yards and one touchdown. 

Wright then made it a 21-0 lead with a 6-yard touchdown to Will Sheppard late in the first quarter. His 26-yarder to Sheppard made it 28-10 before halftime.

Wright became Vandy’s first quarterback with multiple touchdown runs in consecutive games since Greg Zolman in 1999 with a 44-yard run early in the third for his fifth touchdown of the game and a 35-10 lead. He took the record to himself with a 9-yard touchdown pass to Ray Davis with 10:02 left in the fourth.

The game started 30 minutes late because of weather.

Elon outgained Vanderbilt 495-424 and held the ball for more than 34 minutes. McKay finished with 270 yards and two touchdown passes while running for 52 yards and two more touchdowns.