South Carolina game set for ESPN


June 3, 2008

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Vanderbilt will open its upcoming season with consecutive national television appearances after Southeastern Conference officials confirmed Tuesday that the Commodore home opener versus South Carolina on September 4 will be played before an ESPN television audience.

The Vanderbilt-South Carolina game will kickoff at 7:30 p.m., CT, in Vanderbilt Stadium. It also marks the Commodores' first appearance on ESPN since opening the 2006 season against Michigan before 107,000 fans in Ann Arbor.

In March, Vanderbilt and officials from ESPN programming announced the Commodores' season opener at Miami (Ohio), scheduled for August 28, will be televised on the ESPNU network.

The Miami (Ohio) and South Carolina games, both slated for Thursday nights, will mark the first time since 1996 that Vanderbilt gets a national television audience for its first two games.

"We're very pleased with this news. It's going to be a great deal to build excitement within the program as we approach the season, for our players, coaches and fans," Vanderbilt Head Coach Bobby Johnson said. "It will also bring tremendous television exposure to our university and the city of Nashville."

The South Carolina game will mark the fourth straight year that Vanderbilt has appeared on the ESPN family of networks. Last year, the Commodores played eventual Sugar Bowl champion Georgia to the wire before suffering a 20-17 loss before a sellout crowd in Vanderbilt Stadium. The defeat was made worse by a last-minute Commodore fumble and turnover deep in Georgia territory. The 2005 Commodore squad made four appearances on ESPN affiliates.

Besides South Carolina, the Commodores will host three other SEC opponents in Vanderbilt Stadium: Auburn on Oct. 4; Florida on Nov. 8 and Tennessee on Nov. 22. Vanderbilt's two non-SEC home games are Rice, Sept. 13; and Duke, Oct. 25.

After the season opener at Miami (Ohio), the Commodores also travel for games at Ole Miss, Sept. 20; Mississippi State, Oct. 11; Georgia, Oct. 18; Kentucky, Nov. 15; and Wake Forest, Nov. 29.

The Commodores' schedule includes seven opponents that made postseason bowl appearances in 2007: Auburn, Mississippi State, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee and Wake Forest. All but Florida, the BCS national champion in 2006, were victorious in their bowls.

The Commodores return 11 starters from a year ago. Among the top returnees are quarterbacks Chris Nickson and Mackenzi Adams, receivers George Smith and Sean Walker, tailback Jeff Jennings, safeties Reshard Langford and Ryan Hamilton, cornerbacks D.J. Moore and Myron Lewis, defensive end Steven Stone, and kicker Bryant Hahnfeldt.

Ticket orders for the six-game Vanderbilt home schedule, starting at just $99, are available on the web at, at the athletic box office in McGugin Center on campus, or by phoning (615) 322-GOLD.



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