Post-Music City Bowl game notes
Dec. 31, 2008
Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl
LP Field, Nashville, Tenn. - Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2008
Vanderbilt vs. No. 24 Boston College
The Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl marks Vanderbilt's fourth postseason appearance - and first since 1982. The Commodores move to 2-1-1 all-time in bowl appearances. The win over Boston College is Vanderbilt's first bowl victory in 53 years, dating back to a 25-13 win over Auburn in the 1955 Gator Bowl.
Vanderbilt concludes the season with a 7-6 record, marking the team's first winning campaign since it went 8-4 in 1982.
Vanderbilt earned its third victory this season over a ranked opponent team. The Commodores defeated #24 South Carolina (24-17, Sept. 4) and #13 Auburn (14-13, Oct. 4) in the regular season before the Music City Bowl win over Boston College (ranked #24 by BCS).
It marks Vanderbilt's first win ever over Boston College, improving its record in the series to 1-2. The Commodores also move to 66-59-5 all-time against members of the Atlantic Coast Conference. The win also snapped the Eagles nation-leading eight-game bowl winning streak.
Vanderbilt moves to 5-2 this season on games televised by the ESPN family of programming. The Commodores are 3-0 on ESPN, 1-1 on ESPN2 and 1-1 on ESPNU.
First Half Notes:
Teriall Brannon (R-So.) earned his first career start at defensive end.
Jared Hawkins (R-Jr.) started at tailback after missing the team's last two games due to a foot injury.
Larry Smith (R-Fr.) earned his first career start at quarterback...Smith played the entire second half of Vanderbilt's season finale at Wake Forest in his only previous game action... On his first offensive play, Smith hit WR Sean Walker for 17 yards. Two plays later, Smith hit Udom Umoh for a second first down completion.
Bryant Hahnfeldt (Sr.) put the Commodores in front 3-0 with a 42-yard field goal, matching his second longest effort of the year. It marks just the third time this season that Vanderbilt has tallied the first points of a game.
On the `Dores second series, Smith hit WR Sean Walker for 52 yards, the team's third longest pass completion this season. The possession ended successfully with a 26-yard field goal by Hahnfeldt. It marks Hahnfeldt's first multiple field goal game since he converted three attempts in a win at Ole Miss on Sept. 20.
The Vanderbilt defense limited BC to 25 total yards and a lone first down in the opening stanza.
With 9:55 left in the second quarter, Vanderbilt stopped a BC drive when safety Ryan Hamilton (R-Jr.) picked off a deep pass at the Commodore 15-yard line deflected by D.J. Moore. It was Hamilton's fourth interception of the season, with the three previous picks coming in a win at Ole Miss on Sept. 20.
Second Half Notes:
Vanderbilt took its opening possession after intermission deep into Boston College territory...QB Chris Nickson (Sr.) rushed for 30 yards to give Vanderbilt possession at the BC 31-yard line... After a pair of losses on rushing attempts, the Commodores got a big break when a Brett Upson punt touched an Eagle player, resulting in a fumble that was recovered in the BC end zone by safety Sean Richardson (Fr.) for a Commodore touchdown. It was the first Commodore fumble recovery for a touchdown since CB Darlron Spead went 36 yards for a score at Florida on Nov. 3, 2007. The touchdown was Richardson's first of his career.
At 4:57 mark in the third quarter, T.J. Greenstone (DT, R-Fr.) made a huge defensive play, tackling a BC running back for a 2-yard loss on 4th and 1 at the Vanderbilt 47-yard line.
At the 13:48 mark in the fourth quarter Myron Lewis (Jr.) broke up a third down pass from the Vanderbilt 42 yard line that forced BC to punt.
At the 10:05 mark in the fourth, Vanderbilt stopped BC on a third and five from their own 34 forcing a punt. Casey Hayward (CB, Fr.) was credited with broke up a pass attempt.
Brett Upson's 58-yard punt at the 7:46 mark flipped the field pinning Boston College at its own 11-yard line.
Bryant Hahnfeldt's 45-yard field goal with 3:26 left in the fourth gave the Commodores a 16-14 lead. It was his third field goal of the game, tying his single game high set three previous times (most recently vs. Ole Miss on 9/20/08).
Myron Lewis' interception at the 1:36 mark in the fourth quarter ended Boston College's last offensive possession to clinch the Vanderbilt victory. It was his fifth interception of the season and sixth of his career.
The Commodores did not turn the ball over, while BC lost three. It was just the second time this season that Vanderbilt did not turn it over, the first coming against Rice on Sept. 13.
Brett Upson averaged 42.6 yards on nine punts with three punts landing inside the 20-yard line. Upson's first punt of the second half hit off Boston College's Paul Anderson at the 21-yard line and was recovered by Sean Richardson in the endzone for a touchdown. With 3:32 remaining in the third quarter, Upson pinned Boston College at the three-yard line. He was named the game's MVP by the media for his performance. The nine punts today were a season high.
Larry Smith's 121 yards passing were a career high, topping his 46 yards passing against Wake Forest on Nov. 29. His 10 completions were also a career high, besting the nine he had against Wake Forest.
Udom Umoh had the first reception of his career when he hauled in a 16-yard pass from Larry Smith on Vanderbilt's opening drive. Umoh finished with three catches for 29 yards.
Sean Richardson had the first touchdown of his career when he recovered a muffed punt in the endzone with 10:35 to play in the third quarter. The fumble recovery was the first of his career.
Sean Walker's 68 yards receiving was his second-highest total of his career. He had a career-high 138 yards against Duke on Oct. 18.
Chris Marve led the Commodores with 10 tackles. Senior safety Rashard Langford recorded nine tackles in his final collegiate performance.
Chris Nickson's 64 yards rushing were the most since his 118 yards against Kentucky on Nov. 15.
Defensive tackle Greg Billinger (Jr.) recorded a career-high seven tackles. His previous best was six against South Carolina on Sept. 4, 2008.
New Commodore Bowl Records
Ryan Hamilton 1 (Ties for 1st in Vanderbilt Bowl History)
Myron Lewis 1 (Ties for 1st in Vanderbilt Bowl History)
Highest Avg. per Punt
Brett Upson 42.6 (1st in Vanderbilt Bowl History)
Brett Upson 9 (1st in Vanderbilt Bowl History)
Field Goals (Most)
Bryant Hahnfeldt 3 (1st in Vanderbilt Bowl History & Ties Career High)
Field Goals (Most Attempted)
Bryant Hahnfeldt 3 (1st in Vanderbilt Bowl History)
Most Kick Return Yards
Gaston Miller 35 (1st in Vanderbilt Bowl History)
Most Punts Returned
Jamie Graham 3 (1st in Vanderbilt Bowl History)