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Vanderbilt’s Cunningham and Sims Lead Georgia Upset

Vanderbilt’s Cunningham and Sims Lead Georgia Upset

The ‘Dores went down to Georgia they were looking for a win to steal…

Saturday the Vanderbilt Commodores went into Athens and upended the Georgia Bulldogs. Specifically they finally finished a game, and held on to a one-point upset victory. As the first conference road win in his career, the defeat over Georgia was certainly a notable victory for head coach Derek Mason. Furthermore, the college football world has taken notice and delivered almost as many honors as Zach Cunningham delivered tackles, with SEC Player of the Week given to Cunningham for Defensive Player and Darrius Sims for Special Teams Player. College football fans live and die for their teams, and the lights out performance that this duo delivered Saturday is what Vandy fans have been waiting for.

Special Delivery

It is no secret that special teams have been a problem for Vanderbilt the last two seasons. With the arrival of Jeff Genyk, the special teams have played better. Although they can still be inconsistent at times, improvements are noticeable. Darrius Sims set up nicely for the first touchdown of the game with a 95-yard return on the opening kickoff against the Dawgs. This was Sims’ second special teams award in his career as kickoff returner. In 2014, he won by returning a pair of kickoffs against South Carolina.

Georgia only gave him one opportunity to run the ball, and he gained 29 of his 124 yards on the day. Sims is needs 44 more return yards to surpass Vanderbilt’s all-time leader in kick return yardage Mark Johnson. Sims and Cunningham discussed the record and the win with the press on Tuesday.

https://youtu.be/ppJtWBPtSY8

Black Death Defense

With pre-season first team All-SEC Honors and All-American selections due to a dominant 2015 season, Cunningham has taken his game to the next level. In fact, he leads the SEC with 81 total tackles and 13 tackles for a loss. With a career high of 19 tackles on Saturday, Cunningham earned Defensive Player of the Week honors from the SEC, CBSSports.com, and Athlon Sports. He also earned National Defensive Player of the Week from the prestigious Walter Camp Football Foundation, as well as the FWAA/Bronko Nagurski committee.

Cunningham’s relentless play helped Vandy significantly limit Georgia’s premier backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel to 75 yards, a season low. Notably, his biggest play of the game came with 56 seconds left in the fourth; Cunningham delivered his 19th tackle of the day. It was a fourth-and-1 stop to effectively end the game, and seal the victory for the Commodores.  In true fashion of a competitor, Cunningham is striving for more.

Any Given Saturday

The Dores take on Tennessee State on Saturday night for their Homecoming. As Mason said in his press conference on Tuesday afternoon “We respect everyone. We will be ready to play a 5-1 Tennessee State team.” The Dores are 3-4 entering Saturday’s game. In any event, they have a tough road ahead of them for the last four games of their schedule. They will travel to Auburn and Missouri, as well as host Ole Miss and Tennessee to complete the season.

For the most part, the Dores have been within reach of victory in all of their SEC games this season. Thus, there is no reason they cannot pull off another upset. They are approaching each game one-day at a time, an as Mason so eloquently stated “We are trying to turn this snowflake into a snowball”. College football fans have a saying “any given Saturday” as anything can happen…just ask Georgia.

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