Vanderbilt edges Wake Forest 23-21 for 8th win

Published on NewsOK Modified: November 30, 2013 at 4:26 pm •  Published: November 30, 2013
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Vanderbilt Commodores have come a very long way in three short seasons under coach James Franklin.

Not so far to be picky about their bowl destination.

Carey Spear kicked a 38-yard field goal with 39 seconds left, and Vanderbilt rallied to beat Wake Forest 23-21 Saturday as the Commodores finished with their second straight 8-4 season.

"We are not bowl snobs," Franklin said. "Wherever they tell us to go, we will be happy to go there."

The Commodores now have posted consecutive eight-win seasons for the first time since 1927 and 1928 and can only hope their sluggish performance didn't hurt their chances for a bowl game outside of Tennessee. They turned it over twice, and Spear kicked two of his three field goals in the fourth quarter to give them their ninth straight win in November.

Wake Forest (4-8) lost its fifth straight overall and third straight in this series. The Demon Deacons' last win against Vandy came Nov. 27, 2010 — about three weeks before Franklin was hired. Franklin said he has heard stories of that day when 1,500 fans were on hand for the end of a 2-10 season.

"It's night and day," Franklin said of the differences in the Vandy program. "Now don't get me wrong. We still got a long ways to go. We have goals, very, very high goals and expectations of where we can go and what we can be and we have to get back to work on that."

Vanderbilt struggled coming off a big win over in-state rival Tennessee. Jordan Matthews set another Southeastern Conference mark as the league's first receiver to top 100 catches.

Matthews' biggest came on the game-winning drive on fourth-and-11 as he hauled in a 25-yarder between two defenders hanging on him.

"I don't know how he made that catch," Franklin said. "We probably shouldn't have thrown it, we probably shouldn't have caught it, but we did."

Matthews said he knew Austyn Carta-Samuels would put the ball where only he could make the catch.

"I had a good idea it was going to come to me, so I just had to go make a play," Matthews said.

Wake Forest coach Jim Grebe thought his Demon Deacons had good coverage on Matthews.

"He's done that all year for them, it was a very nice catch," Grebe said.

Wake Forest had one last chance for the win, but defensive end Walker May sacked Tanner Price setting up the final play. Price threw deep to Tyree Harris, a pass broken up by Vanderbilt safety Kenny Ladler to seal the win.

Vanderbilt held the ball for more than 38 minutes and outgained Wake Forest 403-266 in total offense. The Commodores also led 17-14 at halftime.

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