Vanderbilt dispatched of Northern Illinois 24-18 on Saturday for the Commodores first win of the season.

Ke’Shawn Vaughn rushed for 138 yards and a touchdown and QB Riley Neal passed for 189 yards with a touchdown on 21-for-28.

Mason discussed being in the wilderness and the need to keep your focus.

“I thought these guys did what I asked them to do, which is compete,” Mason said. “It wasn’t perfect, but I’m really proud of what I saw from Ke’Shawn Vaughn today. He was a little sore. He was a little dinged up. He’s a warrior. I definitely appreciate his mentality.”

Mason added that Vaughn was at a hospital last night because his son was born.

“Our defense showed improvement,” Mason said. “We let the lid off a little bit late in that ballgame. … Those dudes were out there battling and I’m excited because I think we can make a run.”

“It got a little loose at times on down and distance where we ended up taking sacks. We had some protection breakdowns. We decided to go back to the idea of spitting it out, because we needed to see him function.”

Mason was asked how Neal is developing.

“I see him growing, I want it to be faster,” Mason said. “That’s just me. I thought he played a heck of a game. Again it’s all and some. Not all or nothing, but all or some. He never gets rattled. It’s never about him getting rattled, but we’ve got to see it better. We’ve got to see more of it. We’ve got to be able to find it and find it now. We’ve got to get into the right play calling, but sometimes it’s not his fault.”

“We’ll come back tomorrow fix what needs to be fixed,” Mason said, “but I told those guys to go enjoy it.”

The Commodores play at Ole Miss next week.