Friday, September 5, 2008

Commodore Banter: Christmas Day Edition

No, you're not dreaming.

This morning Vanderbilt (2-0, 1-0 SEC) finds itself on top of the world, or at least the SEC East, after stunning South Carolina 24-17.

For the past few years, the Commodores have been looking for a signature home victory. They finally got one last night, beating Steve Spurrier’s Gamecocks for the second straight year.

With Erin Andrews and the rest of the ESPN crew in the house, the Commodores overcame a 10-3 halftime deficit to pull off their first home win against a Top 25 team since defeating No. 25 Ole Miss on Sept. 19, 1992 — a span of 16 years.

“We owed it to (our fans),” said Vanderbilt quarterback Chris Nickson. “We’ve had some great wins away, then we’ve come home and stunk it up. It’s a great win for us. We needed it.”

“We’re trying to defend our house,” said defensive end Steve Stone. “That’s a big point for us this year. We catch a lot of bad breaks here at Vanderbilt, but tonight we made our own breaks.”

Vanderbilt’s defense was as good as advertised, recording two first-half interceptions and four sacks, including two huge ones by Stone on South Carolina’s final drive.

In a game that tested their resilience and resolve, the Commodores played their best when it mattered most, which isn’t something we’re used to seeing, writes The Tennessean’s David Climer. And as he said, maybe, just maybe, “that glass ceiling is sporting a crack.”

It was the Commodores’ first win was its first in eight appearances on the ESPN flagship network, The Tennessean writes in its football notebook.

Vanderbilt coach Bobby Johnson was refreshingly honest in his post-game press conference, and at one point wondered out loud why everyone thought it would be impossible to beat South Carolina after winning 17-6 in Columbia a year ago.

“I was surprised that so many people thought it would be real hard for us to beat them,” he said. “We beat them last year, and I don’t know why everybody thought they got so much better than we were getting. I was glad to get out there and play the game.”

Added tailback Jared Hawkins: “We’re not a blowoff team. We’re going to hit you in the mouth.”

That they most certainly did.

1 comment:

Tony Arnold said...

Awesome game!

Being there -- priceless!