The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Commodores throttled by No. 2 Georgia Bulldogs, 62-0

The Commodores were drowned in a sea of red on Saturday, dropping their first SEC game of the season 62-0.
Mattigan Kelly
The Vanderbilt Commodores were no match for No. 2 Georgia on Saturday as they were beaten handily 62-0 on Sept. 25. (Hustler Multimedia/Mattigan Kelly).

In one of the program’s worst losses in history, the Vanderbilt Commodores were simply no match for the No. 2 Georgia Bulldogs on Saturday, losing to the national-championship contender, 62-0. The Commodores were dominated at both lines of scrimmage, crossed midfield just once and found themselves down 35 at the end of the first quarter alone.

Vanderbilt’s dreadful start all but wrapped this one up before midday in Nashville. Head coach Clark Lea’s team totaled just 34 yards of offense in the first quarter to Georgia’s 200, as the Bulldogs used a fumbled kickoff return from freshman James Ziglor and Ken Seals’ fourth interception of the season to help them score touchdowns on five consecutive possessions to start the game.

“We have to do better at [quarterback] of protecting the football and making good decisions,” Lea said after the game. “To be capable of making the read and going with the ball where it needs to go is going to help position us to win games down the road. It was disappointing turning the ball over as that was one of our keys to win was perfect ball security.”

Georgia wide receiver Ladd McConkey and tight end Brock Bowers each logged rushing and receiving touchdowns in the opening quarter to propel the Bulldogs to an easy day inside Vanderbilt Stadium.

After a more than successful 9-10, 121 yards and two touchdowns in the first quarter, Georgia’s JT Daniels gave way to backup Stetson Bennett after just one frame. Bennett proceeded to toss for 151 yards and a touchdown over a quarter and a half before third-stringer Carson Beck finished out the contest.

Georgia notched 17 third-quarter points thanks to another Bowers touchdown, a rushing score and a field goal before finishing the day with a 15-yard rushing touchdown in the fourth. In all, it was eight touchdowns, 524 yards and a walk in the park on Saturday for Georgia.

Vanderbilt’s best defensive showing came in the second quarter when it held Georgia to just three points. But the Commodores failed to generate any whiff of offense all afternoon. The Bulldogs, highly regarded for their defense, proved far too stout for a Vanderbilt unit that alternated quarterbacks and was short handed at running back.

Lea’s team completed just five passes all afternoon and crossed midfield by their own doing once. Bulldog pressure forced both Seals and Mike Wright to get rid of the ball quickly, but the Commodores were unable to find any holes in the Georgia secondary.

The offense played behind the sticks consistently and averaged just 1.7 yards per play. But for a pair of Wright scrambles for 10-plus yards, the Commodores didn’t notch a single chunk play all game and finished the day with just four first downs to Georgia’s 28. Nine punts told the story as Vanderbilt finished with 77 total yards—its fewest since a 59-0 loss to Alabama in 2017.

“This is just a point in the progression line. It doesn’t shake us because we understand it doesn’t define us. This is a delicate ecosystem, we are young, we are in the infancy of our program,” Lea said. “This is the long hard way.”

After dropping its first SEC contest of the year, Vanderbilt will now await UConn in Week 5—the team’s final nonconference matchup. Kickoff in Nashville is set for 6:30 p.m. CDT on ESPNU.

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About the Contributors
Justin Hershey
Justin Hershey, Former Sports Editor
Justin Hershey ('22) was Sports Editor for The Vanderbilt Hustler. He has been on staff since freshman year, previously serving as a Staff Writer, Deputy Sports Editor and Lead Sports Analyst. He majored in human and organizational development with minors in business and economics. In addition to writing, he hosts The Hustler Sports 30 Podcast, enjoys playing golf and is waiting for his hometown Philadelphia 76ers to complete The Process. For tips and comments, feel free to reach out to: [email protected]    
Mattigan Kelly
Mattigan Kelly, Former Deputy Multimedia Director
Mattigan Kelly ('22) was Deputy Multimedia Director for The Vanderbilt Hustler. She has been on the staff since her freshman year. Mattigan majored in chemical engineering in the School for Engineering. In addition to shooting for The Hustler, she was the Development Coordinator for Camp Kesem at Vanderbilt, works in a research lab on campus and plays Club Tennis.
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