The Vanderbilt Commodores capped their finest regular season in three decades Saturday, posting a 55-21 blowout road victory over the Wake Forest Deacons in Winston-Salem North Carolina. The decisive triumph was their sixth consecutive win, and improved their overall record to 8-4 (5-3 SEC). They also matched an offensive record dating back to 1915, as they scored 50 or more points for the fifth time. It was also their first six-game season winning streak since 1955.
The game was essentially over at the half, with the Commodores already ahead 28-7. But they added another 27 points over the final 30 minutes, with only a couple of late Wake Forest scores against substitute making things a little closer.
QB Jordan Rodgers completed 17 of 23 passes for 229 yards and two touchdowns, putting together another consistently strong performance. Receiver Jordan Matthews had an enormous first half, with his 10 receptions for 144 yards coming over that stretch. Matthews also had a 64 yard TD catch that increased Vandy’s lead to 21-7. He ended the year as Vanderbilt’s all-time single season leader in receiving yards (1,262) and his 82 receptions is second only to Keith Edwards’ 97 for most catches during a year. Zac Stacy gained 180 yards on 21 carries and scored two touchdowns, leading a ground game that averaged over six yards
Even the Vanderbilt special teams had a big day. Jonathan Krause had three punt returns for 110 yards, among them an 83-yard touchdown run that was his second in five games. Andrew Williamson had a blocked punt that Casey Hughes’ recovered in the end zone for a touchdown, and Carey Spear had the two longest field goals of his career, 52 and 50 years. The Commodores’ season point total (352) was their highest since 1915.
Meanwhile the Vanderbilt defense limited Wake Forest to 124 rushing yards (a 2.8 average per carry) and had three QB sacks. The Deacons completed only 18 of 38 passes for 186 yards and no touchdowns. Vanderbilt now awaits news for which bowl they will be selected. The official announcement will be made on Sunday. While much of the speculation revolves around their possibility of them being the SEC representative for the Music City Bowl in Nashville, they could also end up in the Chick-fil-A or Gator Bowls, depending on what happens with Mississippi State (8-4 also) and Ole Miss (6-6), whom Vanderbilt defeated earlier this season. But whatever happens, for the first time in school history the Commodores will be going to bowl games for consecutive years. Head coach James Franklin is also a top candidate for SEC Coach of the Year along with Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin.
Vanderbilt’s men’s basketball team ended an otherwise dreary Old Spice Classic run with a 73-49 victory of Texas El-Paso Sunday. Kyle Fuller’s 14 points led Vanderbilt (2-3). The win ended an ugly tournament that saw Vanderbilt lose 75-62 to Davidson and 50-33 to Marist. Their next game is against Villanova in Nashville Saturday. The 4 p.m. contest will be on ESPN 2.