BATON ROUGE, Louisiana (Ticker) -- In its previous two games, No. 18 Louisiana State rallied late to win. This time, Craig Davis and Skyler Green made sure the Tigers' fans went home with all their fingernails intact.
Davis had a touchdown catch and Green returned a punt for a score in the first eight minutes of the third quarter as the Tigers pulled away for a 24-7 Southeastern Conference victory over Vanderbilt.
On LSU's first possession of the second half, Marcus Randall found Davis for a 34-yard touchdown and a 17-7 cushion. It was one of just four completions in the game for Randall, who had 79 passing yards after relieving starter JaMarcus Russell in the second quarter with the Tigers leading, 3-0.
After a strong defensive stand by LSU, Green, a wide receiver, broke open the game with a 65-yard punt return for the final score.
"The punt return was a huge play for (LSU)," Commodores coach Bobby Johnson said. "It sort of demoralized us, and the long pass (to Davis), too."
Green was an All-American who returned two punts for touchdowns in 2003 but has been hampered this season with an ankle injury.
"Coach Derek Dooley, our special teams coach, had been saying all week the sleeping giant (LSU's punt-return unit) is ready to break loose," Green said. "It was great to be back in the end zone. It makes you feel good about yourself."
One week after amassing a season-low 57 yards rushing in a 24-20 home win over Troy, the Tigers (6-2, 3-2 SEC West) ran for a season-high 273 yards.
"We did run the ball effectively," LSU coach Nick Saban said. "That was a plus. Our offensive line did a very good job."
Against a Vanderbilt team that has not defeated the Tigers since 1990, Alley Broussard led the way with 80 rushing yards on just nine carries. His seven-yard run midway through the second quarter gave LSU a 10-0 lead.
"Last week was just one of those games," Broussard said. "But we've got a lot of good backs and we've got to keep running the ball. Coach told us all week we'd better have our minds right and be ready to play. Give the offensive line a lot of credit; they opened a lot of holes."
Strong safety Jessie Daniels' fumble recovery at the Commodores 21 - the Tigers' first defensive turnover in four games - set up Broussard's touchdown.
Joseph Addai and Randall combined for 147 yards on the ground for LSU, which is 9-0 the last two seasons when rushing for 200 or more yards.
Jay Cutler was 10-of-20 for 112 yards and ran in the lone score for Vanderbilt (2-6, 1-4 East) late in the second quarter, a one-yard plunge that pulled the Commodores within 10-7. Cutler left the game about five minutes into the second half because of a neck injury.
The Tigers also had a starter injured. Center Ben Wilkerson, a second-team All-American in 2003, hurt a knee on the game's final play.
"We don't know the extent of (Wilkerson's) injury," Saban said. "As everybody will say, 'Why was he in there? The score's 24-7 and we didn't make wholesale substitutions at any positions.' As you do and I do, if he is hurt, I wish he wasn't in the game.
"It's unfortunate that it happens when you're just trying to get the game over and take the air out of the ball."
Vanderbilt has not won in Tiger Stadium since 1951 and has dropped 48 consecutive games against ranked opponents since 1992.