Aug. 2, 2013
Vanderbilt had a historic season in 2012, finishing 9-4 overall and winning the Music City Bowl. The nine wins were the most by a Vanderbilt team since 1915. In the coming weeks, VUcommodores.com will relive each win by highlighting one play from every game. To get a better understanding of the play, we watched each highlight with the featured player and had him take us through the moment.
Tate Levels Auburn's Return Man
Oct. 20, 2012
Vanderbilt 17, Auburn 13
For the Commodores, special teams is viewed as being just as important as offense and defense. In fact, among the players and coaches, special teams is specifically referred to as "we-fense."
The third highlight in the NINE-from-NINE series is an excellent example of "we-fense" at its finest.
In Vanderbilt's 17-13 win over Auburn on Oct. 20, running back Wesley Tate was responsible for scoring the game's first touchdown on a 7-yard carry. Additionally, he also delivered the game's biggest hit while on special teams.
Following a go-ahead touchdown by Zac Stacy, Tate set the tone for the defense the rest of the game by leveling Auburn's Onterio McCalebb on the ensuing kickoff. Tate ran down the left side of the field and stopped McCalebb in his tracks at the 15-yard line. Vanderbilt forced a three-and-out on the next series.
In His Words
Tate Breaks it Down
Open Lane: I think we made an adjustment on the kickoff and I was surprised I didn't get touched by any blockers. I was expecting someone to come and block me, but no one came and blocked me so the ball carrier was right there and I made the tackle.
Emotional Lift: It absolutely helped set the tone. The game was so close and I definitely think it was a momentum changer and it definitely set the tone for the defense that series.
Hard to Top: I would say that would be my best highlight on special teams all year. Special teams is a very important part of the game and this play is an example of how anyone can make a difference in a game on special teams.
Delivering the Punishment: I try to be the one delivering the hits most times, but sometimes it is not like that. It is nice to be able to get a tackle and play a little defense since I am usually the one having to avoid people trying to get shots in on me.