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November 17, 2012

Vandy drops anchor on UT's sinking ship

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Vanderbilt took out roughly 30 years of frustration in 60 minutes on Saturday night.

The Commodores hadn't won a game against Tennessee at Dudley Field in 30 years, but tonight, Vanderbilt hammered Tennessee, 41-18, in a game that for much of the second half didn't seem as close as the score indicated.

The 'Dores led just 13-10 at half, but exploded for three third-quarter touchdowns, taking a 34-10 lead at the end of 45 minutes and never looking back.

VU won the yardage battle by a 442-303 count, holding Tennessee's Tyler Bray to an 11-of-29, 103-yard, two-interception, one-TD game. Vandy's Jordan Matthews had two touchdowns and 162 yards from scrimmage, and Zac Stacy added 171 from scrimmage as well as a score.

The Commodores (7-4, 5-3 Southeastern Conference) won their fifth conference game for the first time since 1935. They also insured that the Vols won't go to a bowl for the second-straight year, and third time in five years.

Stacy took a screen 72 yards on the game's first play from scrimmage, but three of his runs later, the drive stalled at the 1 -yard line, and Vandy settled for a Carey Spear field goal.

After Vanderbilt couldn't move the ball a lick, Bray marched UT downfield and hit a wide-open Zach Rogers with a 14-yard scoring strike, putting the Vols up, 7-3, with 10:47 left in the first half.

After Andre Hal's interception of a Justin Worley pass that brought the ball to the UT 17, Vandy's Jordan Rodgers found Chris Boyd for an 11-yard scoring pass, putting VU in front, 13-7.

Worley's second drive ended better, as he led the Vols 51 yards in 10 plays and UT got a 28-yard field goal from Michael Palardy with 20 seconds left in the half.

After Tennessee's three-and-out with Bray back in, Vanderbilt's Matthews took a jet sweep 47 yards untouched to the end zone, putting Vandy up, 20-10.

Another pick by Hal brought the ball back to the UT 4. 3-yard scoring pass by Wesley Tate to a wide-open Kris Kentera put Vandy up, 27-10.

Stacy added a 10-yard run out of the Wildcat to put the Commodores up, 34-10, with 1:53 left in the third.

Matthews took a short pass around the line of scrimmage and raced 72 yards for another score, putting Vandy up, 41-10, with 9:52 left in the game.

Cordarrelle Patterson added a strange-looking punt return for a touchdown with 6:15 left, when Commodore defenders appeared to have spun him to the turf. But Patterson's leg never touched as he was lying atop a defender, and it stood for an 81-yard score. A 2-point conversion made it 41-18.

But it was long over by that point. A sellout crowd of 40,350 stuck around - or at least the Vandy portion did-to celebrate every moment as the players took to the stands to enjoy the program's biggest win against the Vols since 1954.

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