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Vanderbilt rolls over Eastern Michigan 52-6

Oct 10, 2010 - 3:35 AM NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Quarterback Larry Smith threw for 253 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another as Vanderbilt rolled to a 52-6 victory over Eastern Michigan on Saturday night.

The Commodores (2-3) scored 24 points in the second quarter, including 17 in the last seven minutes of the half, as they snapped a nine-game losing streak at home.

Smith completed his last eight passes of the half, starting with a 65-yard catch-and-run touchdown to Udom Umoh with 4:21 to go. It was the longest play of both players' careers.

Smith hooked up with Mason Johnston - his first career catch - for a 1-yard touchdown and a 31-3 lead with 22 seconds left in the half.

Eastern Michigan (0-6) has lost 18 straight, the second-longest streak in the Football Bowl Subdivision - with its last win coming on Nov. 28, 2008, against Central Michigan.

Vanderbilt and Eastern Michigan entered the contest with a combined 3-30 record since the start of the 2009 season.

The Eagles played like a team with nothing to lose early. They threw downfield on the first play of the game and later ran a flea-flicker on a fourth-and-2 at the Vanderbilt 36 on the first play of the second quarter. Both times, however, quarterback Alex Gillett overthrew open receivers.

Devontae Payne replaced Gillett for the remainder of the half but didn't do much better, going 1-for-5 for 5 yards. Gillett came back in the second half and the Eagles finished with just 209 yards of offense.

The Eastern Michigan defense didn't perform much better. The Eagles allowed 558 yards, including 353 passing yards. Before Saturday the Eagles ranked 112th in the nation in total defense, allowing 459.8 yards per game.

Though the game was in hand by halftime, the Commodores didn't let up. They took a 38-6 lead on a career-long 67-yard touchdown run by Zac Stacy midway through the third quarter. On the ensuing kickoff, Vanderbilt recovered an onside kick and marched down the field for another score.

Smith didn't play after the third quarter. His replacement, Jared Funk, threw his first career completion - a 57-yard touchdown pass to John Cole.

Cole's 54-yard punt return set up Vanderbilt's first score. Smith kept it on the next play for a 1-yard rushing touchdown with 13:47 left in the first quarter. Warren Norman's 19-yard touchdown run gave Vanderbilt a 14-3 lead with 10:13 left in the first quarter.

Eastern Michigan fumbled on its next offensive play at its own 38. The Commodores settled for a field goal as Smith twice overthrew open receivers in the end zone.

Smith adjusted after that, though, not throwing another incompletion before halftime. On Vanderbilt's final drive of the first half, he accounted for all 74 yards. He completed seven passes for 65 yards and rushed once for 9 yards.