Nov. 4, 2006
NASHVILLE - The Commodores came within a successful onside kick of having a chance to knockoff the 7th-ranked Florida Gators. However, the Black-and-Gold did not recover the kick with 2 minutes left to play, preserving the Gators 25-19 win.
The game started poorly for the 'Dores, with an offensive three-and-out followed by a blocked punt, a Florida touchdown, followed by a botched-snap-turned-successful-two-point-conversion all within the first three minutes of the game. But the Commodores bounced back later in the first quarter, scoring a touchdown. The two-point conversion failed, leaving the score 8-6 Florida.
Despite the loss, Commodore quarterback Chris Nickson had another strong day, completing 27 of 44 pass attempts for 298 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. Wide receiver Earl Bennett continues his outstanding sophomore campaign, catching 13 passes for 156 yards and a touchdown. It was Bennett's 6th career game with 10 or more catches. Last week, Nickson was named SEC Offensive Player of the Week after his 400-yard performance in the 45-28 win at Duke.
Vanderbilt showed some new offensive formations today, including one that featured running back Cassen Jackson-Garrison. Jackson-Garrison was under center for three snaps, each time keeping the ball on carries. He also had one rushing touchdown. Wide receiver George Smith also caught a touchdown pass today.
Defensively, linebacker Jonathan Goff had an outstanding day, recording a team-high nine tackles (two for a loss), one sack, and his career-first interception on the 'Dores goal line. Also contributing interceptions were defensive tackle Ray Brown and free safety Ryan Hamilton. Vanderbilt's three interceptions today are the team's most since picking off four against Mississippi State in 2004.
The 'Dores (4-6) are looking for its second consecutive 5-win season for the first time since 1993 with games against Kentucky and Tennessee remaining on the schedule.
It was a special halftime show at Dudley Field, featuring 900 cheerleaders from high schools and middle schools across the southeast. Cheerleaders came from Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi to participate in the dance routine. The event was coordinated through the National Cheerleading Association.
Today's attendance was 38,134.
The Commodores travel to Lexington next week to face the Kentucky Wildcats. Kickoff is scheduled for noon CST. The Commodores return home Nov. 18 close out the regular season against the Tennessee Volunteers. For tickets, call 615-322-GOLD or visit www.vucommodores.com.