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Vanderbilt Commodores 23, Wake Forest Demon Deacons 21: Vanderbilt Looks in a Mirror

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The Commodores edge their ACC foes in the kind of game that Vanderbilt fans are used to -- from the other side

Frederick Breedon

Now, Vanderbilt knows what the rest of the SEC feels like. Because the Commodores' win against Wake Forest was a lot like many of the cardiac episode-inducing near-misses that SEC teams have experienced against Vanderbilt over the years.

Just look at the stats. Vanderbilt outgained the Deacons 403-266, held the ball for 16 more minutes than Wake Forest did, and only lost the turnover battle by a net of one. And yet, they were down 21-17 at the end of the third quarter and 21-20 with less than a minute to go.

But anybody who's watched a Vanderbilt game knows what happened next. A short punt by Wake and a decent return by the Commodores set up the Vandy offense at their own 43-yard line. Eleven plays later, Carey Spear knocked the winning field goal through the uprights with about 40 seconds left, and Vanderbilt came away with an eight-win season yet again.

And that's another sign of the construction job that James Franklin has done, and another sign of the reason that his name comes up in the coaching carousel (justified or not). After all, Vanderbilt is now the team snatching victory from the jaws of defeat, instead of the other way around.