Maybe Chris Boyd woke up too soon Saturday.
“I don’t know how this happened, but I had a dream [Friday] night that my first catch would be a touchdown,” the Vanderbilt wide receiver said. “It worked out that way.
"But I didn’t think my second catch [would be] one too.”
Boyd, a redshirt-freshman, became the third of four Commodores who scored their first career touchdowns in a 45-14 victory over Elon before 27,599 at Vanderbilt Stadium. His 11-yard reception 1:31 into the fourth quarter made it 31-14.
He became the first of that group to get to two – and capped the scoring –with a 30-yard scoring catch a little more than four minutes later. Those were his only two catches of the contest.
Additionally, fullback Fitz Lassing, cornerback Trey Wilson and wide receiver Wesley Tate all found the end zone for the first time as college players. Lassing started things with a 15-yard reception. Wilson scored on a 21-yard interception return and Tate powered across the goal line at the end of a 23-yard run on a reverse.
Boyd’s second touchdown reception came on the first career pass by backup quarterback Jordan Rodgers.
For good measure, kicker Carey Spear made a 33-yard field goal – the first field goal of his career.
“That’s huge,” quarterback Larry Smith said. “It builds confidence for those guys. … Hopefully they can build on that for the rest of the season."
• Best-laid plans: Elon had a decisive edge in time of possession.
The Phoenix had the ball for 35:30, which was exactly 11 minutes more than the Commodores had it. They also had an edge in total plays (68-55) but not one that was big enough to suggest the difference in possession time.
“You could tell they had a plan,” VU coach James Franklin said. “Every single play they milked the clock. They would snap the ball with five or six seconds to go [on the play clock]. I think that was part of the plan. … They were going to try to keep it close into the fourth quarter and win it in the fourth quarter. You could see that.”
Vanderbilt outscored Elon 21-0 over the final 15 minutes.
“The game seemed to roll away from us toward the end,” Elon quarterback Thomas Wilson said. “… We knew at halftime we could come back and play. We had them right where we wanted them.”
• Stops don’t stop: Chris Marve, the all-time leading tackler among current SEC players, served notice that his production is not likely to dip in his senior season. Vanderbilt’s middle linebacker finished with 12 tackles, at least twice as many as any of this teammates and five more than Elon’s leading tackler.
He also had two tackles for losses, which tied for game-high honors.
“It’s a little bit of what we’re doing defensively but he’s just a great player,” Franklin said. “He’s going to show up. I would assume he’s going to have 13 or 14 tackles a game. That’s just the type of player he is.”
• Early exit: Smith left the game roughly midway through the fourth quarter and in the middle of a possession. Vanderbilt called timeout with 9:21 to play following a pair of incomplete passes and at that point inserted Rodgers.
A short time later, Smith went to the X-ray room in the stadium and emerged with an ice pack on his right pectoral muscle.
“I took a couple shots; I’m all right,” Smith said. “They probably yanked me for precautionary reasons. We had a lead and it was the first game of the season.”
• No Norman: Warren Norman, Vanderbilt’s leading rusher each of the last two seasons, was held out of action. He missed all of spring workouts and was limited in preseason camp by a knee injury and ultimately lost his starting job.
Zac Stacy, the starter, led the Commodores with 35 yards on eight carries. Four others finished with between 15 and 34 yards as Vanderbilt outrsushed Elon 132-83 and averaged 5.5 yards per carry as a team.
• More Moore-like stuff: Cornerback Casey Hayward showed some of the versatility that made D.J. Moore an All-American in 2008.
Hayward went in on offense for one play in the first quarter and delivered a 23-yard run. He also had six tackles and an interception on defense.
• Quote of note: "[Vanderbilt] played almost a mistake-free game. I’m looking forward to watching Vanderbilt play next week against Connecticut.” – Elon coach Jason Swepson.
• Briefly: With the victory, Vanderbilt snapped a seven-game losing streak. … Franklin became the 13th of Vanderbilt’s 27 all-time football coaches to win in his first game. The last to do so was Woody Widenhofer. ... Nine different Vanderbilt players caught at least one pass. None caught more than three.