Boston College Drops Music City Bowl to Vanderbilt
Dec. 31, 2008
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Vanderbilt won a bowl game for the first time in exactly 53 years when Bryant Hahnfeldt kicked a 45-yard field goal with 3:26 left to beat Boston College 16-14 Wednesday in the Music City Bowl.
Vanderbilt hadn't even played in a bowl since 1982 and the win gave the Commodores (7-6) their first winning season since then, too.
Boston College (9-5) snapped the nation's longest bowl winning streak after eight straight games in its 10th consecutive bowl appearance. The Eagles also missed a chance at finishing with at least 10 wins for a third straight season.
The Eagles got the ball twice after Hahnfeldt's third field goal, but had to punt the first time, then Myron Lewis picked off Dominique Davis with 1:36 left.
Vanderbilt had some of its stars of seasons past cheering from the sideline in Denver Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler with offensive lineman Chris Williams and receiver Earl Bennett here from the Chicago Bears. PGA Tour golfer Brandt Snedeker also was on hand hoping for his alma mater's first bowl win since the 1955 Gator Bowl.
They didn't see much offense against a Boston College defense that came in ranked sixth in the nation in yards allowed and tops in the country in turnovers recovered. Vandy scored its lone touchdown when freshman Sean Richardson fell on a punt that bounced off the left knee of BC's Paul Anderson with 10:35 left in the third.
Officials huddled, then ruled it a touchdown and a replay review upheld the decision.
Vanderbilt played musical chairs at quarterback, giving redshirt freshman Larry Smith his first career start in the program's biggest game in decades. Chris Nickson also played, and Mackenzi Adams even got in for one play -- on which he was roughed by Eagles linebacker Mark Herzlich to help set up Hahnfeldt's winning kick.
Herzlich, the Atlantic Coast Conference's Defensive Player of the Year, also was flagged for a face mask on that game-winning drive for Vanderbilt. His two penalties provided 30 of the 48 yards in that drive.
The difference came from Vandy punter Brett Upson. The bowl MVP averaged 42.6 yards on nine punts with a long of 58. A Vanderbilt defense that ranked second in the Southeastern Conference for interceptions had two more picks for the game's only turnovers.
Davis, in only his third career start, put the Eagles up 14-13 with a 55-yard TD pass to Colin Larmond Jr. with 6:38 remaining.
The Commodores opened by scoring field goals of 42 and 26 yards from Hahnfeldt for a 6-0 lead. But the Eagles led 7-6 at halftime thanks to Davis' 4-yard TD pass to Montel Harris with 1:27 left in the second quarter.
The Eagles lost center Mark Tennant to an injured left elbow early in the second. Vanderbilt got its best player hurt a play later. All-SEC cornerback D.J. Moore helped break up Davis' pass to Ifeanyi Momah, and safety Ryan Hamilton intercepted the ball at the Vandy 15. But Momah rolled over Moore's left ankle, and he limped to the sideline.
Moore got his ankle taped and played in the second half.