The Vanderbilt Commodores had pushed the South Carolina Gamecocks and hung around against the Northwestern Wildcats before pummeling Presbyterian for their first win. Vanderbilt, however, couldn’t get going from the opening kickoff against the Georgia Bulldogs on Saturday.
The host Bulldogs dominated, defeating Vanderbilt 48-3. Visiting Georgia for its second SEC game of the season after flirting with victory in a season-opener versus South Carolina, Vanderbilt suffered its worst defeat since a 48-0 loss to in-state foe Tennessee in 2003. Where do the Commodores go from here? Luckily, nowhere. Vanderbilt has this week off before returning to the gridiron against another rival from the challenging Southeastern Conference.
The Commodores, who were outgained 567-337, dropped to 1-2 overall and 0-2 in the SEC. Vanderbilt’s next opportunity to return to the win column will come on Saturday, Oct. 6 when it visits Columbia, Mo., to face the Missouri Tigers. SEC newcomer Missouri is 2-2 and will visit the Central Florida Knights one week before entertaining Vanderbilt. Missouri owns wins over the Southeastern Louisiana Lions and Arizona State Sun Devils. Like Vanderbilt, Missouri has dropped games to South Carolina and Georgia.
Vanderbilt’s change at quarterback did little to stymie Georgia. Jason Rodgers made the start for Vanderbilt. Rodgers was on the sidelines one week earlier when transfer Austyn Carta Samuels (Wyoming) led Vanderbilt to a convincing 58-0 win over Presbyterian. Rodgers finished 13-of-23 for 218 yards. Zac Stacy led Vanderbilt on the ground, rushing 12 times for 83 yards.
A bowl still isn’t out of the question for the Commodores. In addition to Missouri, Vanderbilt has regular-season games remaining with the Florida Gators, Auburn Tigers, Massachusetts Minutemen, Kentucky Wildcats, Ole Miss Rebels, Tennessee Volunteers and Wake Forest Demon Deacons.
Vanderbilt finished the 2011 season 6-7 following a loss to the Cincinnati Bearcats in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl.