Vanderbilt escaped the upset attempt from Tennessee State on Saturday, winning by a slim 31-27 margin in Nashville against TSU. Following the game, Commodore head coach Derek Mason met with the media to discuss the game.

Opening comments:

“TSU is a good football team and they played hard. When we came into this game, we looked at the numbers, and their numbers were better than our numbers. SEC or not, they have players, players on scholarships, who came out and made plays.”

“We missed opportunities in the red zone. We were inconsistent today – on offense, on defense, and on special teams – but we found a way to win… Kalija [Lipscomb] made plays, Kyle [Shurmur] struggled at times. We didn’t get turnovers, but we gave the ball away… A win is a win, but we have a lot to do. The sun will come up tomorrow and we’ll figure things out.”

On whether Vanderbilt was looking for Lipscomb on the go-ahead touchdown:

“Kyle will find him, and Kalija’s a good player. I said coming into the season that he’s one of the best receivers in the conference. It’s great to have him on our football team.”

On how Shurmur responded to his two interceptions:

“Shurmur is going to have to play through some tough games. I remember [former Stanford and current Colts quarterback] Andrew Luck throwing back-to-back picks at USC, but he came back and we found a way to win the game.”

On Vanderbilt not pulling away:

“At the end of the day, we struggled at the mental part and getting off the field. We let one [thing] become two, two become three, and three become four… That’s disappointing.”

On Vanderbilt’s kicking situation:

“There will be a kicking competition this week. It’s flat-out ridiculous. I trust Ryley [Guay], [but] he has to do better too. We make practice big, but we can’t expect everyone else to get better and not watch what he’s doing. We have a lot of things to clean up.”

On Ke’Shawn Vaughn’s 78-yard TD run:

“When he gets to the second level, he can do some things. He’s tough on backers and tough on secondaries.”

On whether Vanderbilt’s players should be alarmed:

“They’re alarmed. I hit the alarm as soon as I walked into the locker room. I’ll take the win – we’re not going to give that back – but that’s not enough to compensate for what occurred. That’s on us as coaches. That’s on them as players.”

On Vanderbilt’s slow start:

“Defensively, we came out and did what we wanted to do. We have to create our own momentum, and turning the ball over won’t get you what you want – we want points on the board. You put points on the board early, it’s a whole different ball game. I would say we got off to an okay start, not a great start, especially when you talk about turnovers.”