NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Vanderbilt and Middle Tennessee have reached agreement on a four-game home and away football series starting in 2015.
The Commodores and Blue Raiders will rekindle the rivalry at Floyd Stadium on the MTSU campus, Vanderbilt Vice Chancellor for University Affairs and Athletics David Williams II said today. The series includes games played in Vanderbilt Stadium in 2016 and 2018, with a second trip to Murfreesboro in 2017.
Vanderbilt holds a 12-3 overall record in the series that dates to 1915, but Middle Tennessee has captured the last three games played, including a 17-15 decision in 2005.
Williams said representatives from both universities have been in negotiations for more than two years in an effort to renew the series on a multiple-game basis. Discussions started in January 2006 after Vanderbilt and ESPN officials announced a nationally televised Vanderbilt-Michigan game in Ann Arbor to open the 2006 college football season. Previously, Vanderbilt was scheduled to open that seaason against Middle Tennessee.
"When we announced the Michigan game, we told everybody willing to listen that Vanderbilt would reschedule Middle Tennessee in football," Williams said. "We also said that Vanderbilt would work to schedule a home and away series with the Blue Raiders. After a great deal of work by (Middle Tennessee Athletics Director) Chris Massaro and Brian Reese from our staff, we're now prepared to make that announcement.
"The Vanderbilt-Middle Tennessee games will garner tremendous local interest for both teams. This series will be good for our program and good for the Middle Tennessee program. And finally, with the approach of each season, it's going to be help excite college football fans throughout the region," Williams added.
The series will feature early-season games between the Commodores and Blue Raiders. The teams are scheduled to play Sept. 5, 2015 at Middle Tennessee; Sept. 10, 2016 in Vanderbilt Stadium, Sept. 2, 2017 in Murfreesboro, and Sept. 1, 2018 on campus in Nashville.
The Middle Tennessee series has been a disappointment for Vanderbilt in the last decade. In 2001, the Commodores dropped a 37-28 decision to the Blue Raiders in front of 39,885 fans in Vanderbilt Stadium in the first game between the schools since 1956. In 2002, Vanderbilt dropped a 21-20 decision on campus when Middle Tennessee scored on a last-minute possession. In 2005, a 4-0 Commodore squad went 80 yards late in the fourth quarter trailing 17-15 only to have a potential game-winning field goal blocked by the Blue Raiders with :03 left in regulation.
Eleven of the first 12 games played between the universities were contested on the Commodore campus. The teams have met only once previously in Murfreesboro, with Vanderbilt winning 34-0 in 1920.
Vanderbilt Football Future Schedules:
2008 Aug. 28 @ Miami (Ohio) Sept. 4 SOUTH CAROLINA Sept. 13 RICE Sept. 20 @ Ole Miss Oct. 4 AUBURN Oct. 11 @ Mississippi State Oct. 18 @ Georgia Oct. 25 DUKE Nov. 8 FLORIDA Nov. 15 @ Kentucky Nov. 22 TENNESSEE Nov. 29 @ Wake Forest
2009 Sept. 5 WESTERN CAROLINA Sept. 12 @ LSU Sept. 19 OLE MISS Sept. 26 @ Rice Oct. 3 MISSISSIPPI STATE Oct. 10 @ Army Oct. 17 GEORGIA Oct. 24 @ South Carolina Oct. 31 GEORGIA TECH Nov. 7 @ Florida Nov. 14 KENTUCKY Nov. 21 @ Tennessee