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Vanderbilt Commodores
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Recent team reports: 11-21-17 | 11-14-17 | 11-07-17 | 10-31-17 | 10-24-17 |

Someone's got to win

The Vanderbilt-Tennessee, one that started in 1892, has had great meaning at times for both schools for as long as the rivalry has been played.

Legend has it that former Tennessee coach Bob Neyland was given the charge to "beat Vanderbilt" upon his hiring in 1926, a time when the Commodores were the resident football power of the two.

From that point on, the Vols basically dominated the series.

The worst stretch for Vandy came during UT's 22-game winning streak in the series starting in 1983 until VU quarterback Jay Cutler led VU to victory in Knoxville in 2005.

Six more Vol wins ensued, but the Commodores have now won three of the last five, something VU hadn't done since beating Tennessee five-straight times between 1920 and 1926.

The last win in that series, which came by a 45-34 count last year, knocked the Vols out of the Sugar Bowl. It was one of the first in a series of dominoes that eventually cost Vol coach Butch Jones his job two weeks ago.

As for this year's meeting, it may be tough to find a matchup anywhere in series history that means less for both sides.

Bowls look out of the question for either 4-7 team.

The Vols have already fired their coach, and it appears unlikely that the Commodores will do the same with Derek Mason. Other than trying to avoid a winless Southeastern Conference season both teams are 0-7 in the league it's hard to find much motivation for either side.

That would seem to put the motivational edge in UT's corner; the Vols have never had a winless season in SEC play, while the 'Dores have done it 17 times.

One could argue the rivalry may not mean as much to Vandy players. Of the scholarship Commodores on the roster who've seen action this year, only eight hail from Tennessee.

Wide receiver Trent Sherfield, who caught nine balls for 184 yards in last year's game with UT, might argue that point.

"You see a lot of orange in this city, and I think it would truly mean a lot to these seniors to go out with a win by beating Tennessee," he said on Tuesday.

By the numbers, this figures to be one of the worst SEC games in recent memory.

In conference play, Vanderbilt has scored 138 points and given up 322, losing each SEC game by an average of 26.5 points. The Vols have scored a league-low 89 and given up 236, for an average loss of 21.

Vanderbilt also has one more distinction it would like to avoid: giving up the most points in SEC games in league history, a mark set by Mississippi State (329) in 2003.

Vanderbilt didn't exactly put forth an inspired effort last week, falling behind 35-0 to Missouri. It was bad enough that just hundreds of its fans were left when the Commodores finally got points early in the third quarter.





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