Zac Stacy set the school’s single-season rushing record and scored twice during a 21-point second quarter as Vanderbilt whipped Wake Forest 41-7 and clinched bowl eligibility Saturday.
"I thought Vanderbilt played like they wanted to be in a bowl game," Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe said. "They played with some energy and played like they were on a mission. That was a hungry team we played [Saturday].
"To their credit, they out-played us. Their kids played really, really good."
Stacy rushed for 184 yards and three touchdowns capped by a 40-yard touchdown run with 9:04 remaining.
That gave him 1,136 yards for the season with the bowl game remaining. He became the fourth player in school history to rush for better than 1,000 yards in a season and the first since Jermaine Johnson had 1,072 in 1995.
Corey Harris held the record of 1,103 since 1991.
Stacy also tied Ronnie Gordon’s mark of 13 rushing touchdowns in a season set in 1994.
Vanderbilt (6-6) settled for field goals on each of its first two possessions and trailed 7-6 after Wake Forest (6-6) scored on a 10-yard touchdown pass from Tanner Price to Terence Davis with 12:44 to play in the second quarter.
The Commodores went ahead to stay when Stacy capped the next drive, which lasted 14 plays and covered 76 yards, with a 1-yard touchdown run. The junior running back made it 27-7 with a 20-yard touchdown run in the final minute of the half.
Vanderbilt ran the ball 55 times and threw it just 16 but outgained Wake Forest 481-329.
One pass, from quarterback Jordan Rodgers to tight end Brandon Barden, went for 73 yards and touchdown pass. Another, from backup Larry Smith, who lined up as a wide receiver, went to Jordan Matthews for 45 yards and a touchdown.
The Commodores will play in a bowl for just the fifth time. Their last appearance was in 2008 when they defeated Boston College in the Music City Bowl. Before that, they had not played in the postseason since 1982.
"Wherever they tell us to go, we'll be really, really excited," first-year coach James Franklin said. "We'll represent the city and the school the right way."