Wizards

Vandy caps best season in century at Music City

201212311224446987580-p2.jpeg

Vandy caps best season in century at Music City

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Vanderbilt coach James Franklin kept rattling off how his Commodores had just posted the program's best season in nearly a century by finishing on a seven-game win streak capped by a victory in the Music City Bowl.

Yes, Vanderbilt now wins at football and wins big.

And Franklin says everybody better get used to it because this is just a taste of more to come from the smallest and only private university in the SEC.

``We're not going anywhere,'' an emotional Franklin said.

Jordan Rodgers threw two touchdown passes and ran for another score, and the defense forced a season-high five turnovers Monday as the Commodores beat North Carolina State 38-24. At 9-4, it's their best record since going 9-1 in 1915, and it's only the third time Vanderbilt has won as many as nine games in a season.

Vandy's winning streak, currently the best in the Southeastern Conference, is its longest since an eight-game run in 1948, and its 15 wins over the past two seasons is the program's best total since 1926 and 1927. Franklin said those dates mean it's been a very long time since the Commodores had won.

He credited the school for the program's success, citing the support he received in turning around the former SEC doormat.

``It's the university deciding to hire some psycho that nobody ever heard of and gave him a chance and an unbelievable group of guys that bought in and believed in everything that we asked them to do,'' Franklin said.

The Commodores matched the most points they'd ever scored in any of their previous five bowls by halftime with a 28-14 lead, and they turned those turnovers into 17 points. Rodgers threw for only 108 yards and ran four times, but he credited the defense for most of the hard work.

``The way our running game was going, the way our offensive line was blocking, didn't need me to do much,'' Rodgers said. ``And I think I lined up at receiver almost as much as I did at quarterback, and that's because we had the numbers.''

Interim coach Dana Bible ran N.C. State (7-6) after Tom O'Brien was fired at the end of the regular season. It was the Wolfpack's fifth game of the season with at least four turnovers, and it helped wipe out a 424-225 advantage in total offense.

Bible took the blame for two of the interceptions for being aggressive.

``We took the other approach,'' Bible said. ``Again a Southeast Conference team, Southeast Conference talent, those type things. We weren't going to play it safe. We weren't going to play back on this team. We were going to be attacking on it, and if they made a play on it, more power to them.''

This was the 27th bowl for N.C. State, which had won its last two postseason games. But they couldn't overcome mistakes that included a bad shotgun snap that cost the Wolfpack 21 yards on the opening drive.

The Commodores took control from the opening drive, moving 65 yards for a touchdown that put them ahead to stay. Officials initially called Chris Boyd out of bounds, but the video review showed the sophomore got the toes of his right foot down on a 5-yard TD pass from Rodgers.

Rodgers also found Jordan Matthews on a screen the receiver took 18 yards for a TD, while Stacy and Wesley Tate each scored TDs out of the wildcat. Carey Spear added a 30-yard field goal, and Rodgers capped Vanderbilt's scoring with a 15-yard TD run in the fourth quarter.

Commodores safety Kenny Ladler had the first interception and also recovered a fumble.

``It wasn't about going three-and-out,'' N.C. State quarterback Mike Glennon said of the Wolfpack's struggles. ``It was just a matter of turning the ball over.''

Tony Creecy scored on a 1-yard TD run for the Wolfpack, Tobias Palmer returned a kickoff 94 yards for a TD, and Glennon connected with Rashard Smith on a 19-yard TD with 2:06 left.

``They were better today,'' N.C. State safety Earl Wolff said.

The game was so in control that even when something went wrong for Vanderbilt it didn't cost as so many mistakes in the past did. Trey Wilson picked off a Glennon pass on the opening drive of the third quarter only to be stopped by his own teammate, tackle Jared Morse, at the N.C. State 35.

Franklin immediately ran up to Morse yelling at the junior, making it clear that's not how it's done at Vandy these days.

``I'm sure there will be some pictures of that over the Internet,'' Morse said.

---

Follow Teresa M. Walker on Twitter at www.twitter.com/teresamwalker

Quick Links

We're still amazed by Michael Jordan's historic scoring night vs. New Jersey, days after turning 40-years-old

gettyimages-1839658.jpg
Getty Images

We're still amazed by Michael Jordan's historic scoring night vs. New Jersey, days after turning 40-years-old

Sixteen years ago Michael Jordan delivered one of the most memorable performances of his two-year stint with the Washington Wizards. 

On February 21, 2003, Jordan dropped 43 points four days after his 40th birthday. The mark made the Jordan the first player older than 40 to record 40 points or more in a contest. 

It was also the fifth-most points he ever scored in a Wizards uniform. 

The record was made against the then-New Jersey Nets. Throughout the entire game the two teams went back-and-forth with 13 ties and 17 lead changes. That was until the Hall of Famer put the game away for Washington with the final go-ahead basket with 34 seconds to go. 

The Wizards won 89-86. 

"We hadn't really been playing well and coach has been really disappointed in the way we play and I had to take the leadership. I had to do everything I had to do to get this team to understand what winning is all about," Jordan said.

The 43 points was scored on 18-for-30 shooting, all within the 3pt arc. In the third quarter alone he scored 14 of the team's 25 points. He also grabbed 10 rebounds for the double-double in the contest with four steals, three assists and a block.

All 13 seasons of Jordan's career he had incredible feats. The season prior he recorded his final 50-point game at 38 years of age, which is also the oldest anyone's ever been to reach 50 points. And that came two months after he returned from retirement. 

The 2002-03 season was his last and this display was an attempt for Jordan to return to the postseason one final time. He had not been there since he was with the Chicago Bulls in 1998. 

"I've only got 28 games left in my career. I do whatever I've got to do to get into the playoffs."

Ultimately the Wizards did not make it to the playoffs with Jordan, but he sure left his mark on the organization. 

MORE WIZARDS NEWS: 

Zion Williamson blows out his shoe, leaves Duke vs. UNC with knee injury

zion_williamson_shoe_twitter.png
Twitter/ @TroyMachir

Zion Williamson blows out his shoe, leaves Duke vs. UNC with knee injury

Nothing and no one had been able to stop Zion Williamson in his freshman season with the Duke Blue Devils. That is except for his left shoe. 

Like everything the 6-7 forward has done this season, ripping out of his shoe was impressive.

Shoes don't do that. But of course things are not normal when it comes to Williamson.

After one comprehends what happened to the foot accessory, there is the result of the play that happened in the opening moment of Duke vs. UNC. Williamson grabbed the back of his right knee and had a serious concerned look.

The projected No. 1 pick of the 2019 NBA draft immediately left the contest only 33 seconds into the game. Not too long after he was ruled out for the contest. The initial reaction though is not good. 

As the overwhelming top prospect in the college game, this injury could have huge ramifications on the NBA Draft. Of course it is too early to assume anything on his injury status, but this is right on the heels of the national conversation on if Williamson should shut down the remainder of the Blue Devils' 2019 season. 

MORE NCAA NEWS