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Vanderbilt Defense Comes Up Big, Limits #15 Georgia to 211 Yards in a 31-27 Win

Vanderbilt got their first win over a ranked opponent under James Franklin on Saturday, toppling #15 Georgia at home. Patton Robinette, playing for an injured Austyn Carta-Samuels, came up big for the 'Dores in the upset.

Not great, Bob!
Not great, Bob!
Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports
Vanderbilt hadn't beaten a ranked opponent since Bobby Johnson had roamed the sidelines. Vandy's 31-27 win over #15 Georgia was a throwback to 2008 for a #BrandNewVandy.

The Vandy defense came up when this team needed them the most, shutting down a dangerous Georgia team in the second half to allow Patton Robinette, Jonathan Krause, and Jerron Seymour the opportunities they needed to carry the 'Dores to their biggest win under James Franklin. Vanderbilt limited UGA to just 211 total yards and took advantage

Vanderbilt beat Georgia for the first time since 2006. Maybe all the Commodores needed to defeat the Bulldogs was the NCAA's new targeting rules. Vandy benefited from a pair of questionable targeting calls that sustained touchdown drives and ultimately made the difference in the 'Dores win Nashville. However, those calls just set the stage for some superlative performances from a team that had been looking for a spark all season.

Robinette, who was playing in place of an injured Austyn Carta-Samuels, provided a stable presence behind center that led his team to a 17-0 fourth quarter and a huge statement in his first meaningful action for Vanderbilt. He was buoyed by big plays from Jonathan Krause (five catches, 89 yards) and Jerron Seymour (71 yards, two touchdowns) as Vandy blew up Georgia's momentum and got a huge home win.

Carey Spear somehow made himself more of a fan favorite in the second quarter, running a fake field goal in from the 10-yard line to put his team up up 14-10 midway through the frame. Vanderbilt forced a three-and-out that made it look like the game's momentum had shifted into the home team's favor.

The 'Dores penchant for trick plays would bite them in their ensuing drive, however. Shaq Wiggins wasn't fooled by Vanderbilt's split offensive line, picking off a swing pass and returning it 39 yards to erase Vandy's lead. Austyn Carta-Samuels suffered a lower leg injury two plays later, and the Bulldogs reigned over the rest of the second half to take a 24-14 lead into the locker room.

Georgia pushed that lead to 27-14 before the 'Dores responded behind Robinette, who was making his first appearance in a meaningful game for Vanderbilt. Aided by an overturned targeting call on Ramik Wilson (which converted a fourth-and-five opportunity for VU), Vanderbilt drove 36 yards after a muffed punt to make this a one-possession game. Vanderbilt's defense held tight on the ensuing drive, and Spear responded with a 40-yard field goal on the next drive to make it 27-24 with 4;44 to play.

The Bulldogs had a chance to run the clock out, but combined for just seven yards on their next three plays. Punter Collin Barber couldn't handle a high snap on the next play, and Vanderbilt got the ball back on the UGA 13 with less than three minutes to go.

Seymour didn't need that much time to put a seal on the Commodores' biggest win in five years. He took the first play of the drive straight to the end zone to put Vanderbilt up 31-27 and deliver the upset victory for the 'Dores. UGA would have a pair of chances to come back as the clock wound down, but a Brendan Douglas fumble and a Aaron Murray hail Mary interception sent the home crowd into a frenzy with the team's first conference win.

Vanderbilt got a rare break from the officials when Georgia defensive end Ray Drew was ejected in the second quarter under the NCAA's new "targeting" rule. Drew, one of the Bulldogs' best defenders, earned a flag for some light contact on Austyn Carta-Samuels, and the call was upheld on review. It was a disappointing result for a depleted UGA team and frankly, a terrible call that sustained the 'Dores' second touchdown drive.

James Franklin's team will return to action next week when they travel to College Station for their first game against Texas A&M as a conference foe.