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.

Vanderbilt Commodores fall to No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs 37-20 on Family Weekend

On Saturday, the Commodores fell to Georgia and had less than 100 rushing yards for the fifth consecutive game.
Alan+Wright+getting+ready+to+play+against+Georgia+on+Oct.+14%2C+2023.+%28Courtesy+of+Vanderbilt+Athletics%29
Vanderbilt Athletics
Alan Wright getting ready to play against Georgia on Oct. 14, 2023. (Courtesy of Vanderbilt Athletics)

On a windy fall day on Family Weekend, the Vanderbilt Commodores fell to the No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs 37-20. The Commodores lost their sixth consecutive game to the Georgia Bulldogs on Saturday, thanks to dominating play from the Kirby Smart-led Georgia defense. Vanderbilt scored a touchdown against the Bulldogs for the first time since 2018 but was unable to muster up much against Georgia’s ferocious defense. The Georgia offense had no problem slicing up Vanderbilt, scoring points on seven of its ten drives.  

“We have to clean our game up,” Clark Lea said. “We’ll never accept anything other than winning here.”

Entering Vanderbilt’s clash with Georgia, the Commodores were 0-117 against the Bulldogs in the previous two meetings combined. Ken Seals and the Vanderbilt offense improved that statistic right from the get-go. Seals came out of the gates firing, scoring a touchdown on his first drive. The five-play drive was capped off by a slant from Seals to London Humphreys, who ran the ball 49 yards to the Georgia endzone. The score marked Vanderbilt’s first touchdown against the Bulldogs since 2018

Carson Beck and the Bulldogs looked to put the game at 7-7 in their first drive, but Aenes Dicosmo denied that opportunity. On third-and-4 on the Georgia 42-yard line, Beck was strip-sacked by Dicosmo and Marlen Sewell recovered the ball at the Georgia 32-yard line. The sea of red at FirstBank Stadium was silent and in shock. The Commodores were unable to take advantage of their prime field position, ultimately going three-and-out on the drive and missing a 47-yard field goal attempt.

The Vanderbilt defense lost its footing on the next drive, allowing Georgia to swiftly march into the Vanderbilt endzone on an eight-play, 71-yard drive. Seals and the offense were silenced on their second drive of the day, gaining just 19 yards before punting the ball back to Georgia. The Bulldogs capitalized on their third drive of the day, finishing a 77-yard drive with a 3-yard rushing touchdown by Kendall Milton. Vanderbilt’s offense got the ball back again but punted for the second consecutive drive after mustering up -2 yards in just three plays.

With 11:27 remaining in the second quarter, Beck had the ball and aimed to improve Georgia’s lead to 14 points. Georgia’s drive lasted just under eight minutes and lasted 16 plays, but Vanderbilt stopped the Bulldogs from scoring a touchdown. Although the Bulldogs converted on a fourth-and-2 on the Vanderbilt 17-yard line, the Bulldogs were ultimately stalled and settled for a field goal.

Down 7-17, Seals aimed to put the Commodores within one possession entering the halftime break. The senior was unsuccessful in his effort, throwing a costly interception on third down to Tykee Smith with 37 seconds to go in the first half. Seals targeted Junior Sherill, but Smith invaded those plans and ran the ball eight yards from the Georgia 37-yard line. Georgia profited off of Seals’ error and scored in just four plays, thanks to a 20-yard pitch-and-catch from Beck to Oscar Delp, a 30-yard reception for Dominic Lovett and a four-yard receiving touchdown for Lovett. The Commodores trailed the Bulldogs 7-24 at halftime.

Georgia had the ball first coming out of the halftime break and was poised to score a touchdown. Nate Clifton hijacked those plans and sacked Beck on a pivotal third-and-10 opportunity. Georgia’s 19-play drive ended in a 44-yard field goal from Peyton Woodring. 

Richie Hoskins scored a three-yard receiving touchdown to cap off Vanderbilt’s first drive of the second half. The 13-play drive included Seals completing three 20+ yard throws, highlighted by a Sportscenter Top-10-eqsue play from the quarterback to Will Sheppard. With the ball on the Georgia 25-yard line on fourth-and-8, Seals threw a 24-yard desperation throw to Sheppard, who reeled in one of the best catches of his career to keep the drive going.

The Vanderbilt defense allowed the Bulldogs to score another field goal on the next drive and Georgia had a 16-point cushion. Seals and the offense then went three-and-out for the second time in the game. Georgia had the ball with halfway transpired in the fourth quarter and looked to nurse its 16-point cushion. Beck was unable to take care of the football and threw an errant interception into the hands of Vanderbilt’s CJ Taylor, who ran the ball back to the Georgia one-yard line. Sedrick Alexander punched the football into the endzone and put the game at 27-17 with 6:14 to go in the fourth quarter. Seals was unable to push the game to a one-possession affair as his two-point conversion attempt to Humphreys was unsuccessful. 

“CJ’s a dog,” Jaylen Mahoney said. “I’m proud of our defense and how we played.”

Georgia scored on its ensuing possession, evaporating all hope of a Vanderbilt comeback. The Commodores were unable to lessen their 17-point deficit late in the game.

Vanderbilt will not play next weekend and enjoy a much-needed bye week. The Commodores will return to action on Oct. 28 with an away matchup against the No. 13 Ole Miss Rebels. Vanderbilt will look to beat the Rebels in Oxford, Miss for the first time since 2012.

This has been eight challenging games,” Lea said. “The focus will be on recovering. Our guys are getting through midterms.”

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About the Contributor
Andrew Wilf, Sports Editor
Andrew Wilf (’24) is Sports Editor for The Vanderbilt Hustler. He is from Livingston, N.J., and is majoring in history and minoring in business. He joined the sports staff his freshman year, previously serving as a Staff Writer, Assistant Sports Editor and Deputy Sports Editor. Beyond writing for The Hustler, he is also the host of Anchor Analysis, Commodore Clash and Live From West End. In his free time, Andrew enjoys watching the NFL and playing golf. He can be reached at [email protected].
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