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Vanderbilt’s Sarah Fuller first woman to score in Power 5 football game

The senior converts two extra points for the Commodores against Tennessee.
Vanderbilt kicker Sarah Fuller walks along the sideline during the first half of a game against Tennessee on Saturday.
Vanderbilt kicker Sarah Fuller walks along the sideline during the first half of a game against Tennessee on Saturday. [ WADE PAYNE | Associated Press ]
Published Dec. 12, 2020
Updated Dec. 13, 2020

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Sarah Fuller kicked two extra points Saturday to become the first woman to score in a Power Five conference game, finally getting the chance to do more than squib a kickoff for Vanderbilt during a 42-17 loss to Tennessee.

Fuller cleanly converted both of her kicks, to the cheers of her teammates and family.

Fuller made history Nov. 28 as the first woman to play in a Power Five game, but was on the field only once, driving a low kickoff to open the second half as the Commodores got shut out at Missouri.

With Vanderbilt (0-9) getting the chance to play after postponing last week’s game at Georgia, the Commodores also gave the goalkeeper for the SEC women’s soccer tournament champs an opportunity to put up points.

After the game, Fuller said the Vanderbilt football staff has judged her on ability throughout her short tenure with the team.

“This whole time has been if I can do it, if I’m good enough to do it,” Fuller said. “It wasn’t if I was a girl or not. So that’s something I’ve really appreciated. At the end of the day, they treated me like an athlete and that’s the best I could ask for.”

Fuller, listed second out of three available kickers on the depth chart, came out for the extra point that tied the game at 7 with 1:50 left in the first quarter.

The 6-foot-2 senior put the ball through the uprights and celebrated by pulling her fist in before slapping high-fives with teammates. She ran off the field with a big smile with her family in the stands all with their arms up in the air.

An official gave Fuller the ball on the sideline. She got another chance with 7:22 left in the fourth quarter at the other end of the field and kicked the ball through.

Vanderbilt lost its 13th consecutive SEC game, its longest skid since dropping 23 straight between 2000 and 2003.

Tennessee (3-6) left with the much-needed victory with Harrison Bailey and J.T. Shrout throwing for two touchdowns apiece.

The Volunteers snapped their longest skid in 32 years after matching the six straight losses to start the 1988 season and avoided the longest skid in history at a program that started playing football in 1891.

They also won their second straight loss to Vanderbilt for the first time since 2014-15.

Vanderbilt played with just 49 scholarship players, not counting Fuller, with only 18 available on defense after defensive lineman and sack leader Dayo Odeyingbo opted out earlier this week.

The Commodores led 10-7 early in the second after a 39-yard field goal from Pierson Cooke, a kick just outside Fuller’s range of 38 yards.

Tennessee took control scoring 21 points in the second quarter. Bryce Thompson started the scoring, snagging an interception with his left hand and running 18 yards for a TD. Shrout threw a 23-yard TD pass to Velus Jones Jr. and added a 28-yarder to Jalin Hyatt late for a 28-10 halftime lead.

Jones caught a 74-yarder from Bailey with 7:03 left for the final margin.