Vanderbilt shocks Georgia on late FG by HahnfeldtOct 14, 2006 - 8:18 PM ATHENS, Georgia (Ticker) -- Vanderbilt had one coming to it. Bryant Hahnfeldt made sure the Commodores got it Saturday "Between the Hedges."
Winless in Southeastern Conference play after three close losses, Vanderbilt turned the tables on No. 16 Georgia as Hahnfeldt drilled a 33-yard field goal with two seconds left as the Commodores posted a 24-22 victory and spoiled the Bulldogs' homecoming.
Not only was this a big win for Vanderbilt (3-4, 1-3 SEC East) but it was another home loss for Georgia, and a stunner at that. The Bulldogs blew a 17-point second-quarter lead in a 51-33 loss to Tennessee last week and now have lost two straight at home for the first time since 1995.
"The bottom line is they played better than us," Georgia coach Mark Richt said. "They made plays when they needed to. Vanderbilt is a good football team. They've been knocking at the door and finally knocked it in on us. To be quite frank, they played a good game."
Georgia (5-2, 2-2 East) likely expected to rebound from the loss to the Volunteers and give its fans a homecoming victory since it had won 11 straight in the series. Instead, Hahnfeldt came through to lead the Commodores to their first win here since 1994.
"Every week it seems like it comes down to someone making plays and today we made those plays," Vanderbilt coach Bobby Johnson said. "We overcame some adversity today and won the game. You have got to battle back from mistakes and we did that today."
Vanderbilt came up short at Mississippi last week, 17-10, after committing six turnovers and missing a pair of field goals. The Commodores also suffered a three-point loss at Alabama and a two-point setback to Arkansas in consecutive weeks but found a way to come through Saturday.
Trailing 13-7 at the half, Vanderbilt came out and took the lead in the third quarter on a three-yard run by Cassen Jackson-Garrison and a 35-yard pass from Chris Nickson to Sean Walker that made it 21-13.
Andy Bailey kicked a 20-yard field goal in the fourth quarter for the Bulldogs and Georgia grabbed a 22-21 edge on a 24-yard interception return by linebacker Tony Taylor with 9:22 remaining. True freshman backup quarterback Matthew Stafford's two-point conversion attempt was stopped short.
"They had already run that route a couple of times and I saw the quarterback looking at him and just overplayed the ball," Taylor said. "I thought that would be the spark for us today, but we could not close the deal."
Nickson completed 15-of-29 passes for 189 yards and two touchdowns with a pair on interceptions. He added 59 yards rushing on nine carries.
Bailey converted a pair of field goals and Joe Tereshinski III threw a 23-yard TD pass to Martrez Milner in the first half for Georgia.
But Bailey missed a 37-yarder with 5:02 to play and the Commodores responded with a 65-yard drive to set up Hahnfeldt's winning kick. Nickson and Sean Walker made the biggest play of the drive, hooking up for a six-yard completion on 4th-and-5 from the the Georgia 35.
Bailey's miss allowed Vanderbilt to play for a field goal and it did, running on the final five plays of the drive and putting it in Hahnfeldt's hands.
"This is a huge win for us, especially going on the road in the SEC and picking up a win," said Hahnfeldt, who was 4-for-8 on field goals entering Saturday. "I was a little nervous but not too much. In my mind it was just another field goal, the time on the clock doesn't matter too much because a kick is a kick."
Tereshinski was 11-of-17 for 152 yards and Stafford completed 9-of-13 attempts for 86 yards.
"We have to work hard and stick together after this. We know we can do it for the rest of the season," Stafford said. "We have a lot of confidence in this team. The team learned that any team can beat you on any given week and that you have to come prepared for anything."
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