The Vanderbilt Commodores and head coach Derek Mason could not have written a much better script for the first half of the season-opening game against Texas A&M in College Station.
Commodores freshman starting quarterback Ken Seals, making his first career start in his first college game in his home state, handled the situation near perfectly, managing the game while completing 10 of 14 passes for 65 yards. The Weatherford, Texas native avoided the big mistakes though the first 30 minutes as his team headed to the half trailing the No.10 team in the nation by just 7-5.
Seals and his offensive mates took the opening drive and moved to the Aggies 16 yard line, where Pierson Cooke knocked home a 33-yard field goal to give the COmmodores the early advantage.
However, the Aggies answered as Ainias Smith found the endzone for the home team on a 25-yard scoring run to give Texas A&M their first lead of the night.
Smith then made a mental mistake on a put return near the Aggies end zone that resulted in a blindside block called on A&M in the endzone that gave the Commodores a safety to trim the lead to 7-5 in the second quarter.
The Commodores offense outgained the Aggies 150 to 121 in total yards through the first half. They also held an advantage in time of possession, keeping the football a total of 18:29 to 11:08. Vanderbilt also managed eight first downs in half compared to the Aggies seven.
Perhaps most surprising through the first 30 minutes was the rushing yardage, where the Commodores ran for 85 yards on 22 carries compared to just 23 yards on ten attempts for Texas A&M.