NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Southeastern Conference is so strong that even Vanderbilt, yes Vandy, is winning like the Commodores haven’t in nearly a century.
And 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 consecutive 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.
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.
Vanderbilt running back Zac Stacy had 107 on 25 carries, mostly in the wildcat.
TULSA 31, IOWA STATE 17
In Memphis, Tenn., Trey Watts rushed for 149 yards, Alex Singleton ran for three scores and Tulsa beat Iowa State, avenging a season-opening loss to the Cyclones.
The Golden Hurricane (11-3) posted the second 11-win season in school history. Tulsa, which has the smallest enrollment of any Football Bowl Subdivision program, also finished 11-3 in 2008.
Iowa State (6-7) was seeking its second winning season in the past seven years.