Notes from the Football SID's desk
Sep 6, 2013
With Hall of Fame Weekend at hand, it's time to reflect on the amazing career of Jamie Duncan, who will become the ninth former Commodore football player inducted in the Vanderbilt Athletics Hall.
Duncan was recruited out of Delaware to Vanderbilt by Gerry DiNardo. By the time he departed Nashville as a 1998 third-round pick of the Tampa Bay Bucs, Duncan left a defensive legacy virtually unmatched in Commodore history. Nearly 20 years after his arrival on campus, the standout linebacker still ranks as the team's fifth leading career tackler.
Known for his punishing hits, Duncan was named the Southeastern Conference's Defensive Player of the Year as a senior in 1997. But Duncan burst on the scene as a junior, when he paced the SEC with 152 tackles. To this day, Vanderbilt fans fondly remember Duncan's remarkable performance against No. 1-ranked Florida - 19 tackles, three sacks, two forced fumbles and fumble recovery for a TD - as one of the single greatest achievements in Commodore history.
As much as anyone, Duncan also helped Vanderbilt earn the "Linebacker U" label in the mid-1990s, ushering in a list of standouts that includes all-conference recipients Jamie Winborn, Carlton Hall, Matt Stewart, Hunter Hillenmeyer, Moses Osemwegie, Jonathan Goff and Chris Marve.
Kyle Woestmann's Impact at Defensive End
In his first career start after 26 appearances, the product of Marietta, Ga. was superb against Ole Miss, recording two quarterback sacks among a career-high seven tackles. Woestmann has been performing at an All-Southeastern Conference level since midway through the 2012 season. Woestmann has eight sacks in his last eight games, including a pair of sacks against both Ole Miss and N.C. State in the 2012 Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl.
One Remarkable Night of Competition between the 'Dores and Govs
While this marks the first gridiron meeting between the Commodores and Governors, the schools have competed in other sports on numerous occasions. Few of those competitions can stand up to the drama witnessed June 1, 2007 when Austin Peay and Vanderbilt staged an epic baseball affair at Hawkins Field.
Facing off in the first round of the NCAA Baseball Tournament, Austin Peay and Vanderbilt dueled to an extra-inning classic eventually won in 11 innings by the top-ranked Commodores, 2-1.
The game featured two remarkable pitching performances by current Major League hurlers David Price of Vanderbilt and Shawn Kelley of Austin Peay. Price tied a career high with 17 strikeouts in a superb nine-inning outing. Kelley was just as impressive, limiting the 'Dores to five hits while striking out nine over 10 innings.
Today, Price and Kelley remain rivals in the AL East: Price as a starting pitcher in Tampa Bay, Kelley as a top reliever with the Yankees.
Perhaps even more remarkably, seven active MLB players were in uniform that night in Hawkins Field: Price (Rays), Mike Minor (pitcher, Braves), Pedro Alvarez (3B, Pirates), Ryan Flaherty (INF, Orioles) and Nick Christiani (pitcher, Reds) from Vanderbilt, and Kelley (Yankees) and A.J. Ellis (catcher, Dodgers) from Austin Peay.
Matthews Approaching SEC All-Time Top 20 Lists
Jordan Matthews (Sr., WR) is quickly working his way toward several SEC all-time Top 20 receiving charts.
After a courageous 10-catch, 178-yard performance in the opener vs. Ole Miss, Matthews needs just 137 receiving yards to break into the elite SEC list. He also needs just 17 catches to reach the league's career Top 20. Matthews is playing at his highest level as a Commodore.
Matthews has registered a touchdown pass and averaged 121 yards and eight receptions in each of his last six games.
Top Jazz Musicians Performing With Spirit of Gold at Halftime Saturday
Two of Nashville's top jazz musicians, Steve Patrick and Jeremy Wilson, will perform at halftime with the Spirit of Gold Marching Band.
Patrick's trumpet can be heard on more than 400 recording sessions, including albums by Carrie Underwood, Vince Gill, Willie Nelson, Elton John, Garth Brooks and Norah Jones. He has toured with many acts, including the Paul Simon, Aretha Franklin and The Temptations. Wilson is Associate Professor of Trombone at Vanderbilt's Blair School of Music, and a former member of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in Austria.
More Football Tidbits...
Only two true freshmen played for the Commodores in the opener, defensive back Darrius Sims and wide receiver Jordan Cunningham. Sims' 34-yard kickoff return in the closing minute provided the biggest play by either freshmen... Six players enjoyed their first career starts: Woestmann, Vince Taylor (R-Jr., DT), Darreon Herring (So., LB), Adam Butler (R-Fr., DT) and Andrew Jelks (R-Fr., OL)... Taylor Hudson (Jr., punter) was the only non-scholarship player in the starting lineup... The Commodores went 66 straight games, dating back to the 2006 Kentucky game, without a 300-yard passing performance until Austyn Carta-Samuels (R-Sr.) hit the 300-yard mark against Ole Miss... The 34-yard TD catch by Steven Scheu (R-So., TE) was a career long reception... The Commodores are 12-0-1 all-time against current members of the Ohio Valley Conference - and 15-1 all-time vs. Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) opponents... The Commodore offense has tallied at least 35 points in six of its last seven games.