Vandy gets first SEC road win under Derek Mason

Photo: WKRN
Photo: WKRN

ATHENS, Ga. (WKRN) – It’s the third year of the Derek Mason era and for the first time the Vanderbilt Commodores won an SEC game on the road, 17-16 over the Georgia Bulldogs.

Despite not scoring an offensive touchdown the last two weeks, Vandy scored twice on short runs to help them get their first SEC road win since 2013.

Darius Simms provided a much needed spark on the games opening kick-off as he returned it 95 yards inside the Georgia 10-yard line, allowing Ralph Webb to score on a 1-yard touchdown run two plays later.

Vanderbilt added a field goal to start the second half to lead 10-6, but Georgia took control after Jacob Eason found tight end Isaac Nauta for a 17-yard touchdown and a 13-10 lead.

After Georgia added a field goal to lead 16-10, Vandy put together the drive of the season marching 75 yards in just eight plays as Khari Blasingame scored a 2-yard touchdown to give the Commodores a 17-16 lead.

That’s all Vanderbilt would need as late in the game with Georgia facing a 4th down, Zach Cunningham made the game-winning tackle to stop the Bulldogs short of the marker and seal the win for the Commodores.

Cunningham finished with a career high 19 tackles, including 2.5 for a loss as Vanderbilt moves to 3-4 on the season.

“You know man, tears started to come out, it’s hard, it’s been a rough three years. These guys did a great job and I appreciate them. It’s RTI, relentless, tough, intelligent. Today it wasn’t always intelligent, but we played tough to the end and we were able to come here between the hedges and get a victory,” said Mason.

Zach Cunningham added, “To come in losing close games week by week, it’s a game we really wanted to win to show people we can finish and that’s what we did today.”

Vanderbilt hosts Tennessee State next week in their final non-conference game of the season.