Vanderbilt had no trouble finding ways to score in a 55-21 blowout of Wake Forest in its regular-season finale on Saturday in Winston-Salem, N.C.
The Commodores (8-4) scored seven touchdowns, including three longer than 60 yards and two on special teams — a blocked punt and an 83-yard punt return.
The rout extended their win streak to six games, their longest since 1955. The eight wins are the most since 1982 and just the 15th time in 122 years the Commodores have reached the plateau.
Wesley Tate scored twice — once receiving and once rushing — and got the things started with a 25-yard touchdown reception to cap the opening drive. After Wake Forest (5-7) tied it up, Tate put the Commodores ahead for good with a 15-yard touchdown run, the first of three Vanderbilt scores in the second quarter.
Jordan Matthews got to the end zone with a 64-yard catch-and-run touchdown on the next possession. With that reception broke Bo Mitchell's record for receiving yards in a season. Matthews had 144 yards on 10 receptions (all in the first half and tied for his personal best) and raised his season total to 1,262 yards. Mitchell had 1,213 in 1988.
Zac Stacy also reached personal milestones. His four-yard run with 1:04 left in the second quarter capped off the first-half scoring. He added another touchdown in the fourth quarter when he broke loose for a 90-yard score, which broke his own school record for the longest run. He had an 86-yard touchdown against Presbyterian two months ago.
The senior running back finished with a season-high 180 yards on 21 carries. At 1,034 rushing yards this season, he is the first multiple 1,000-yard rusher in school history. The school’s all-time leading rusher is also the first Commodore to surpass 3,000 rushing yards for his career.
The special teams got involved in the scoring after halftime.
Fifty-two seconds into the third quarter, Andrew Williamson blocked a Wake Forest punt and Casey Hughes recovered it in the end zone for a 35-7 lead. Carey Spear tacked on two field goals of more than 50 yards. His 52-yarder tied the sixth-longest in school history and was the longest since 1995. In the final quarter, Jonathan Krause returned a punt 83 yards for his second punt return touchdown this season.
For the first time since 1942 that Vanderbilt has scored more than 50 points in multiple games. The It blew out Presbyterian 58-0 earlier this year.
The Commodores now await their bowl fate. They will find out where they’ll go bowling for the second straight year — another program first — when the bowl lineup is announced on Sunday, Dec. 2.