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September 8, 2012

Fourth-quarter collapse dooms Vandy

Vanderbilt clung to a 10-6 lead early in the fourth quarter, but couldn't hold it as Northwestern's Venric Mark and Kain Colter scored touchdowns and Jeff Budzien added a field goal, dooming the Commodores to a 23-13 loss in Evanston on Saturday night.

Mark's came on a 7-yard run with 9:28 left in the game, putting the Wildcats ahead for the first time all night. Vandy's Carey Spear tied the game just over four minutes later with a field goal, but Northwestern answered on the following drive with Budzien's 18-yarder.

After Jordan Rodgers fumbled amidst a downpour on Vandy's next try, Colter scampered 29 yards to ice the game.

The Commodores (0-2) scored on the game's first drive and could have easily been up 13-3, or perhaps 17-3 at the break. But Rodgers fumbled on the Northwestern 11, and the 'Dores instead led 10-3 at the break.

The Wildcats took the second-half kickoff and marched deep into VU territory before settling for Budzien's 37-yard field goal to inch closer. That would be the only score of the third quarter before the Wildcats closed strong.

Vanderbilt struck first when Rodgers found Matthews on a 22-yard scoring toss on the game's first drive. The Wildcats answered in the first quarter with Budzien's 40-yard field goal, but Vandy's Spear extended the lead back to seven with a 32-yarder of his own.

The Commodores threatened late to add another score with inside a minute in the first half, but Rodgers fumbled at the Wildcat 11.

Vandy out-gained Northwestern in the first half 232-85, but it all went for naught.

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