Commodore Classics: 2005 FB season highlights
March 24, 2014
The 2005 Vanderbilt football season was filled with excitement and unforgettable moments that will forever be ingrained in the minds of Commodore fans.
Behind quarterback Jay Cutler, Vanderbilt started the season 4-0 with road wins at Wake Forest and Arkansas, and home wins against Ole Miss and Richmond. However, the Commodores then went into a tailspin, losing six straight games before closing the season with a dramatic 28-24 victory in Knoxville.
Vanderbilt finished with a 5-6 overall record, one win shy of bowl eligibility. The Commodores' final two losers were two of the most memorable games from the season. Vanderbilt dropped a double overtime game at No. 13 Florida, 49-42, and a 48-43 contest to Kentucky.
Jay Cutler threw for 3,178 yards and 21 touchdowns and Earl Bennett hauled in 79 balls for 876 yards and nine touchdowns. Erik David had 619 yards receiving on 46 receptions. Cassen Jackson-Garrison teamed with Jeff Jennings to form a balanced rushing attack.
Defensively, team captain Moses Osemwegie paced the Commodores with 118 tackles. Reshard Langford's three interceptions led the team.
In the Arkansas game, Vanderbilt scored the game's final 15 points on passes from Cutler to Marlon White. Osemwegie sealed the win with a late interception.
Against Ole Miss, Jeff Jennings rushed for three touchdowns and totaled 103 yards on 24 carries. Cutler passed for 304 yards and moved into second place on Vanderbilt's all-time passing list.
In Gainesville, Vanderbilt outscored Florida by 14 points in the fourth quarter to force overtime. The tying touchdown came with 54 seconds remaining when Cutler connected with Bennett. The game went to a second overtime after Florida answered a touchdown run by Jeff Jennings. The Commodores came up empty in the second overtime.
The next week against Kentucky, Vanderbilt dug an early 34-3 hold only to rally and pull within five with 2:09 to play. Cutler threw for a career-high 395 yards.
In the final game of the regular season, Vanderbilt went into Neyland Stadium and defeated the Vols, 28-24, on a 5-yard pass from Cutler to Bennett with 1:11 to play. It would be Cutler's final play of his collegiate career, and left a lasting image that will stay with Vanderbilt fans for eternity.
It was Vanderbilt's first win in Knoxville since 1975 and put a cap on the roller-coaster season.