Every week that Nashville Post will have a round-up of the weekend’s Nashville-area college football games, including top performers and takeaways, as well as updates from around the state and about local players.
Let’s take a look back at the standings from week 13 of the college football season.
Vanderbilt celebrate their second win against Florida since 1988
For only the second time in 32 years, Vanderbilt (5-6, 2-5) defeated Florida on Saturday, May 31-24. at First Bank Stadium. It was the Dores’ first win over the Gators since 2013 and their first in Nashville since 1988.
The last time Vanderbilt even won two SEC games was in 2018 when they finished 6-7 after losing to Baylor in the Texas Bowl. The ‘Dores are now a win away from bowl eligibility as the fast-moving but downturn Tennessee Vols head to Nashville for the regular-season finale.
On Saturday, Vanderbilt quarterback Mike Wright was a 10-16 efficient for 108 yards, three touchdowns and an interception, with points from Ben Bresnahan, Jayden McGowan and Brentwood Academy alum Gavin Schoenwald.
Ray Davis continued to hide in the running game, amassing 122 yards on 30 carries. However, the wildest play of the day definitely belonged to junior long snapper Wesley Schelling. The Pearl-Cohn grad scored a touchdown from a muted Florida punt, which he recovered in the end zone.
Hooker tears ACL as Vols South Carolina playoff hopes shatter
After a dreamy October, November was a tough month for the Tennessee Vols (9-2, 5-2). After Tennessee lost first place in the college football playoff rankings when they lost to Georgia, Tennessee was eliminated entirely from the playoff race on Saturday with a 63-38 loss to South Carolina.
And to top it off, Heisman’s hopeful Hendon Hooker tore his ACL in the loss, ending his stellar senior season. Before the injury early in the fourth quarter, Hooker was 25-42 for 247 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions.
As so often this season, defense was the downfall of the Vols. Gamecocks quarterback Spencer Rattler had the best game of his career, finishing 30-37 for 438 yards, six touchdowns and no interceptions. The team mustered a total of 606 yards of offense.
Cunningham throws five touchdowns while gaining MT Bowl eligibility
The Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (6-5, 3-4) needed to win one of their last two games to qualify for the bowl. They went ahead and took care of business on Saturday, defeating Florida Atlantic 49-21 in Murfreesboro.
Quarterback Chase Cunningham had one of his best games of the season, completing 40 of 54 passes for 448 yards, five touchdowns and one interception.
Running back Frank Peasant also had a productive day, finishing with 13 carries for 59 yards and a record that included eight catches for 107 yards and two touchdowns.
Next week’s outing at Florida International will determine where and when the Blue Raiders will play in the postseason.
TSU closes the season with a win at Texas A&M-Commerce
Tennessee State (4-7) ended a season of ups and downs with a 22-14 win at Texas A&M-Commerce. Despite being down 400 to 240, the Tigers won the turnover bout 3-0 to claim the win.
Ravenwood alum Darius Harper got things on the right foot for TSU when He returned a 28-yard interception for a touchdown on the first play of the game. Harper also pulled out a second pass and recovered from a fumble, collecting all three of TSU’s forced turnovers to earn the OVC Defensive Player of the Week honor.
The offense struggled to get going, and Draylen Ellis went 11-21 for 126 yards and a quick touchdown.
Austin Peay is shut out by Alabama in the regular season finale
The Austin Peay Governors (7-4) season ended Saturday with a 34-0 shutout at No. 8 Alabama over. The Govs were a long shot to be selected for the 2022 FCS playoff bracket.
Despite the shutout, AP held up better than some FBS opponents this season against an overwhelming Crimson Tide. The Govs were beaten 527 to 206 but forced three turnovers including an interception from Cedarius Doss and a fumble recovery from Demetries Ford.
Quarterback Mike DiLiello finished the game 20-32 for 147 yards and two picks, while wide receiver Drae McCray made another impressive showing, hauling in 12 catches for 92 yards.