Football announces 2009 schedule

Feb. 12, 2009

View 2009 Commodore Football Schedule

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Coming off their finest season in more than 25 years, the Vanderbilt Commodores will play six home games during 2009, including Southeastern Conference encounters against Georgia, Kentucky, Ole Miss and Mississippi State.

In releasing the 2009 schedule, Vanderbilt and SEC officials also announced the Commodores would switch dates for the Mississippi State and Ole Miss games. The Commodores now play their SEC home opener against Mississippi State on Sept. 19, then play the Ole Miss Rebels on Oct. 3.

The schedule calls for the Commodores will travel to away games every other Saturday in 2009. The Commodores also will not have an off week and will make the two longest road trips of the Bobby Johnson Era at Vanderbilt: to Houston on Sept. 26 to face Rice and to West Point, N.Y. on Oct. 10 to play Army.

"I'm excited about the schedule. Our fans in Nashville are going to get a chance to see their Commodores face some excellent football teams," the Commodore head coach said. "I think our players and coaches are eager to prepare for the challenge this schedule presents."

Johnson's squad is coming off a 7-6 campaign, the Commodores' first winning season since going 8-4 in 1982. The season was capped by a 16-14 victory over nationally ranked Boston College in the Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl played at LP Field in Nashville. Eighteen starters from the Music City Bowl championship squad are expected to return next year for the Commodores.

Vanderbilt opens the season at home, hosting Western Carolina of the Southern Conference on Saturday, Sept. 5, then heads directly into the teeth of SEC play with a trip to Baton Rouge to face the nationally ranked LSU Tigers on Sept. 12.

Besides Mississippi State, Ole Miss and LSU, the Commodores also host SEC games against Georgia (Oct. 17) and Kentucky (Nov. 14). The Commodores travel to South Carolina on Oct. 24, Florida on Nov. 7 and Tennessee on Nov. 21 in SEC action.

Vanderbilt's final non-conference home game will come against nationally ranked Georgia Tech on Oct. 31.

After defeating three ranked opponents, capturing four SEC victories and becoming the first Commodore squad to win a bowl game in 53 years, Vanderbilt will play eight opponents that made 2008 postseason bowl appearances: LSU, Rice, Ole Miss, Georgia, South Carolina, Georgia Tech, Florida and Kentucky.

"It looks like an extremely challenging schedule, but it's no different from any other year. When you play in the SEC, you're going to play excellent football teams," Johnson said. "We're excited about the challenge ahead, and looking forward to getting started early next month with Spring Practice."

The Commodores return 19 starters from last years: nine on offense, nine of defense, and one specialist.

Among the top offensive returnees are tailback Jared Hawkins, receiver/running back Jamie Graham, quarterbacks Mackenzi Adams and Larry Smith, tight end Brandon Barden, center Bradley Vierling and tackle Thomas Welch.

Among the defensive returnees are linebackers Patrick Benoist, Chris Marve and John Stokes, cornerback Myron Lewis, safety Ryan Hamilton, and defensive linemen Steven Stone, Greg Billinger, Adam Smotherman, T.J. Greenstone and Broderick Stewart.

Punter Brett Upson, MVP of the Music City Bowl, also returns for his final season.



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