Wright ignites Vanderbilt in 63-10 romp over Hawaii

Sports

HONOLULU (AP) — Mike Wright factored into four touchdowns and Vanderbilt used a 35-point third quarter to pull away from Hawaii 63-10 in a season opener on Saturday.

The Commodores rolled up 601 yards of total offense, including 404 rushing to pick up their first win since Oct. 2, 2021. It was just the third victory under second-year coach Clark Lea.

Wright threw for 146 yards on 13-of-21 passing without an interception. Both of his touchdown passes went to Will Sheppard, covering 1 and 15 yards. Wright also ran for 163 yards and two scores, including an 87-yard touchdown, on only 13 carries.

Vanderbilt’s defense scored two touchdowns on fumble returns. Anfernee Orji snagged the first one out of the air after Maxwell Worship jarred it loose and returned it 28 yards to the end zone with 21 seconds left in the opening quarter. CJ Taylor scored from 14 yards out on a third-quarter scoop-and-score after Elijah McAllister forced the fumble.

Hawaii opened the game by driving 75 yards in eight plays, capped by Dedrick Parson’s 37-yard TD run to take an early lead.

THE TAKEAWAY

Vanderbilt: After it averaged just 15.8 points and 312.6 yards per game, Saturday’s prolific production is a promising sign for a team that lost its final seven games of 2021 and was picked by league media to finish last in the SEC East this fall.

Hawaii: The first game of the Timmy Chang era was far from pretty, but after a tumultuous offseason that saw the resignation of Todd Graham following a large amount of outgoing transfers — including a number of starters — optimism around the program and support for its former record-setting quarterback should remain throughout his first season as coach at his alma mater.

UP NEXT

Vanderbilt: The Commodores return home to host Elon on Saturday.

Hawaii: The Rainbow Warriors host first-time opponent in Western Kentucky on Saturday.

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