Second-half surge carries Commodores to rout of Tennessee

Sunday, November 18, 2012 at 12:34am

James Franklin fought every urge in his body not to go for it.

The Vanderbilt coach fended off temptation on a fourth-and-goal at the 1-yard line less than three minutes in. He passed on his usual risk and took the sure points, kicking a field goal.

“We knew we were going to be back,” quarterback Jordan Rodgers said.

The Commodores had no problem finding the end zone in the second half. Twenty-one points in the third quarter fueled a rare rout of in-state rival Tennessee as Vanderbilt rolled to a 41-18 victory on Saturday night in front of a soldout crowd of 40,350 at Vanderbilt Stadium.

Players and coaches roared out of the locker room and emerged for a victory lap to thank an overwhelming clan of Commodore fans who stuck around after the first win over Tennessee in Nashville since 1982. The 23-point victory was the most lopsided Vanderbilt win in the rivalry since a 26-0 thumping in 1954.

Vanderbilt (7-4, 5-3 Southeastern Conference) has just six wins over UT (4-7, 0-7) since then, including just two in the last 30 years. For only the second time ever – and first since 1935 – the Commodores have won five SEC games.

“I think it is a testament to them staying with us through the tough times,” Rodgers said. “We've had a lot of tough times. They’ve been waiting a long time for that. So we wanted to make sure to celebrate with them and honor them.”

A rout and Vanderbilt’s fifth straight win didn’t look inevitable the way the first half went.

Other than a 72-yard screen pass from Rodgers to Zac Stacy on the first play, the Commodores were sluggish. They settled for two field goals despite starting with a first-and-goal inside the 5-yard line and misfired on their first seven third downs.

Their first conversion couldn’t have come at a better time. Chris Boyd hauled in an 11-yard touchdown pass on a third-and-4 to propel the Commodores in front for good with 3:12 left in the half. They led 13-10 at the half.

Jordan Matthews opened the second-half scoring when he took a handoff and raced 47 yards on an end-around for his first career rushing touchdown. After Andre Hal picked up his second interception for Vanderbilt’s third takeaway, Wesley Tate threw his first career touchdown. Out of the Wildcat, he tossed a jump pass – a la Tim Tebow – to a wide open Kris Kentera for a 3-yard touchdown. Stacy capped off the third quarter scoring with his 27th career touchdown – a school record – on a 10-yard run for a 34-10 lead with 1:53 left in the third quarter.

“We treated this game like it was any other game,” Stacy said. “It just feels a whole lot better it being Tennessee.”

15 Comments on this post:

By: Rasputin72 on 11/18/12 at 5:05

I am speechless, just like I was in ,1948. 1954, 1959, 1964,1975,1982, and 2006.

By: jws37205 on 11/18/12 at 6:52

Rasputin, I hope Vanderbilt continues to win, if for no other reason than to keep you speechless. Your screen name should be "Massengill" as you are a colossal douche-bag.

By: HamBoneHamBone on 11/18/12 at 7:39

+1 ^^^^^^^^^

By: TITAN1 on 11/18/12 at 7:43

By: Rasputin72 on 11/13/12 at 7:00

Derek Dooley is no doubt a good man,but as a coach he is probably as far over his head as one can get in the SEC.

He is a Georgia boy and would be a good coach for "The Westminster school in Buckhead.

I am going out on a limb with tears in my eyes and predict that Tennessee will beat Vanderbilt. Not because of Derek Dooley but because history says they will.
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I hope when that limb broke you fell face down in a big pile of fresh cow manure.
WTG, Vandy! Let negative people like rasp/rump/richgoose/frankbrown live in the past while Vandy fans enjoy the present!

By: 4gold on 11/18/12 at 8:55

I thought Vandy defense would need to get turnovers to slow UT offense down. They got them but after seeing the game I think they could have won regardless. VU is just playing together and getting the most out of what they have. Go Dores! You made my weekend.

Go Dores, Preds, Titans! Go Nashville a great place to live!

By: wiseguy1 on 11/18/12 at 9:53

Great win Dores! Kudos to Franklin for successfully uncoupling the history of the series and this game. I think that has weighed heavily on too many teams in the recent past. Deep down I kinda wanted another score late in the 4th quarter as so many teams haev done to VU over the years. Good win even without it.

So sad to see the orange faithful leaving the stadium in the 3 rd quarter. There was so much more see. The orange clad may not like their coach, but at least stay for the players.

That thumping was long over due.

By: Rasputin72 on 11/18/12 at 10:19

Titan1. The limb did break and I fell.on my ass.

Let the record clearly show that the historic record since 1948

Tennessee 57 victories
Vandy. 8 victories

Not a bad win record for a private school where 90% of Americams are not qualified academically to get in. 95% of Americans do not have the money to afford the tuitiion if they did qualify.

By: wiseguy1 on 11/18/12 at 11:07

Now that I think about it a bit, the two fluke plays in the game that went UT's way have typically been the margin of victory in close games of past years. End zone pick off Kentera's mishandled pass and punt return where everybody assumed runner was down. Officials got one right for once. I'm sure officiating crew had clear instruction from league office not to let this game get out of hand. Must have forgotten that part when (Matthews or Boyd?) got slammed out of bounds. Other than that no call, I think the officiating was reasonable and did fair job of letting the bumps between CB and WRs play out.

Best part is it made a difference in score, but not the game result.

GO 'DORES!

By: jws37205 on 11/18/12 at 12:24

Rasputin, AKA Massengill, please crawl back to the feminine hygine products aisle at Kroger where you belong and allow the true Vandy fans to enjoy this day.

By: wiseguy1 on 11/18/12 at 1:44

Raspy ... That "record since 1948" is the mentality that allowed UT to ... dislike the cliche ... psyche out the mighty 'Dores when they had the ability to win but didn't.

Kudos to Franklin for understanding the rivalry mentality and having the team focus on 1 week seasons.

Short of Northwestern, the teams that beat VU (Georgia, Florida & South Carolina) are clearly superior teams as indicated by BCS. Forecasts have all three in top 5? Remember VU played Florida and South Carolina tough. Late score for 'style points' made UF game look more lopsided than it really was.

Here's to a strong finish, thump Wake and winning the last 6 is a (4-0 conference with 68 pt margin) helps the 'respect' resume. Also raises expectations ... about time. You think getting out the cellar was tough, just see how difficult cracking the upper division is going to be.

By: wiseguy1 on 11/18/12 at 1:46

JWS now claiming to be a true VU fan?? Oh MY!! Thing do change.

By: Rasputin72 on 11/18/12 at 4:08

JWS.........What makes you think I am not enjoying the Vanderbilt victory.

I am enjoying the win in the same manner I disliked the 57 losses.

By: 4gold on 11/19/12 at 9:05

If it wasnt so sad it would be laughable. VU's radio show Thurs. preceeding the UT game was canceled because of technical problems. Then after the UT game the post game show went off the air shortly after game. VU fans got Zero chance at any discussion on the game. Then the papers and radio talk shows talk only about who UT's coach is going to be. Once again VU fans get Zilch in there own home town.

Go Dores, Preds, Titans! Go Nashville a great place to live!

By: 4gold on 11/19/12 at 3:13

Loved the call for VU roughing because the Vandy player just rode the guy out of bounds and then 5 min. later a UT player slammed a VU player to the grond 5 yards out of bounds and got no call. Wilson got a bogus roughing call too. Put his shoulder pad in the guys back and ref called sprearing. It wasn't.

Go Dores, Preds, Titans! Go Nashville a great place to live!

By: joe41 on 11/19/12 at 3:36

I thoroughly enjoyed this game. Worth the 400 miles round trip just to be there to see all of the orange running out after the third quarter. Vandy played a smart game and I think the defense was the key to the victory. They played magnificently.
Joe