2012 Vanderbilt Commodores football team

2012 Vanderbilt Commodores football
Music City Bowl champion
Music City Bowl, W 38–24 vs. NC State
Conference Southeastern Conference
Division Eastern Division
Coaches No. 20
AP No. 23
2012 record 9–4 (5–3 SEC)
Head coach James Franklin (2nd year)
Offensive coordinator John Donovan (2nd year)
Offensive scheme Multiple
Defensive coordinator Bob Shoop (2nd year)
Base defense 4–3
Home stadium Vanderbilt Stadium
(Capacity: 40,550)
2012 SEC football standings
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
Eastern Division
#5т Georgia xy   7 1         12 2  
#9 Florida x%   7 1         11 2  
#8 South Carolina   6 2         11 2  
#23 Vanderbilt   5 3         9 4  
Missouri   2 6         5 7  
Tennessee   1 7         5 7  
Kentucky   0 8         2 10  
Western Division
#1 Alabama x$#   7 1         13 1  
#14 LSU   6 2         10 3  
#5т Texas A&M   6 2         11 2  
Mississippi State   4 4         8 5  
Ole Miss   3 5         7 6  
Arkansas   2 6         4 8  
Auburn   0 8         3 9  
Championship: Alabama 32, Georgia 28
  • # BCS National Champion
  • $ BCS representative as conference champion
  • % BCS at-large representative
  • x Division champion/co-champions
  • y Championship game participant
Rankings from AP Poll

The 2012 Vanderbilt Commodores football team represented Vanderbilt University during the 2012 NCAA Division I FBS football season. (variously "VU" "Vandy" Vanderbilt "Dores") The Commodores played their six home games at Vanderbilt Stadium at Dudley Field in Nashville, Tennessee, which has been Vanderbilt football's home stadium since 1922.[1] The team's head coach was James Franklin, who is in his second year at Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt has been a member of the Southeastern Conference (SEC) since the league's inception in 1932, and has participated in the conference's Eastern Division since its formation for the 1992 season. On November 11, 2012 Vandy became bowl eligible in back to back years for the first time in its 123-year football history. This was the first time since 1935 that Vandy won five SEC games in a year and the first time in 30 years that they won at home against Tennessee. Vanderbilt finished the year with the longest current SEC winning streak. For the first time since 1948, Vanderbilt finished the season with a top 25 ranking.

Before the season

Vanderbilt vice chancellor of athletics David Williams announced on February 6, 2012 Vanderbilt will be adding new artificial turf and a new JumboTron.[2]

Vice Chancellor Williams confirmed that a large “berm” is to be constructed in the open end of Vanderbilt Stadium as a place for fans to watch games starting fall 2012. The project, in addition to other renovations, began after the Black & Gold scrimmage on April 14, 2012. While several ACC stadiums such as Clemson’s Memorial Stadium and Virginia’s Scott Stadium have hillside seating, Vanderbilt’s idea stemmed from the team’s 2011 visit to Wake Forest’s BB&T Field, which features “Deacon Hill” in one end zone.

Vanderbilt’s is on the line of, but not to the same as Wake Forest. Wake Forest has a natural hill, Vanderbilt’s is manmade. Only 500 seats are available, the hillside is a first-come, first-served area in terms of picking a spot to sit. No lounge chairs or coolers are allowed, but fans can bring blankets to place on the grass. The berm will not reach the permanent seating on the sidelines to leave space in the corners of the end zone for fans to enter. The grass on the playing surface will be cut up and relocated to the berm. FieldTurf is being installed as the new playing surface after April 14, 2012. The JumboTron Vanderbilt is installing in the open end zone that will showcase a significantly larger screen than the one above the closed end zone.

The fourth major project set for the stadium is improved lighting. Vanderbilt Stadium has the reputation of being one of D1 college football’s darker venues for night games. Renovations are ongoing at McGugin Center, where new meeting rooms and Olympic sport locker rooms are being built. The work is due for completion summer 2012.[3]

On July 12, 2012 Vanderbilt announced that vice chancellor David Williams will change his title to vice chancellor for athletes and university affairs and athletics director. This will be the first time Vanderbilt has had an athletics director since 2003.[4]

2012 season milestones

In 2012 Franklin’s team has had numerous milestones.


New uniforms

On July 11, 2012 Vanderbilt unveiled new football uniforms. Marking the first time since the 1986 season Vanderbilt added a white helmet. Other changes are to the gold jersey, with the addition of black shoulder covering and numbers. Also Vanderbilt is on the front of all jerseys and Names on the back. A Star V logo is on both sides of the paints (before was only on one side). A gold anchor is in the center of the jersey collar. The words Anchor Down (the teams motto) is placed on the inside of the collar. Vanderbilt has 27 uniform combinations for the 2012 season. For the opener against South Carolina on August 30, 2012 the team wore all black.[7]

In 2012 Vanderbilt introduced a new all white helmet.

Maryland transfers

On February 18, 2012 Maryland Football coach Randy Edsall blocked three of his players from transferring to Vanderbilt. Quarterback Danny O’Brien, offensive tackle Max Garcia and linebacker Mario Rowson. Franklin was instrumental in O’Brien’s recruitment out of North Carolina, and the two shared a close relationship before Franklin’s departure to become the head coach at Vanderbilt in December 2010. Edsall’s transfer policy does not allow former players to transfer to other ACC schools or upcoming opponents outside the conference.[8]

On February 22, 2012 Edsall changed his mind and said he will allow three football players to transfer to Vanderbilt, if they wish.[9]

On February 22, 2012 Maryland officially filed tampering charges against Vanderbilt: "We have been informed by the Southeastern Conference that the Atlantic Coast Conference has filed a formal complaint involving Vanderbilt University football on behalf of one of its members. We are complying with SEC and Vanderbilt procedures and are conducting an investigation on the matter."

Maryland has believed strongly that O’Brien had been in contact with former Maryland offensive coordinator James Franklin, now Vanderbilt's coach. Under NCAA rules, a school can limit a rival program from having contact with a player without permission: "A rival school can't encourage a player to transfer without permission. And it can't provide athletics aid in the first academic year if the player transfers without that consent."

Franklin has said he keeps relationships with former players but has maintained there was no tampering.[10]

Vanderbilt vice chancellor of athletics David Williams said he will be looking thorough and will be conducting an internal investigation into whether football Coach James Franklin or anyone else on his staff was tampering with Maryland players who intend to transfer. The SEC sent a request to Vanderbilt to have the matter investigated.[11]



Date Time Opponent Site TV Result Attendance
August 30 6:00 p.m. No. 8 South Carolina Vanderbilt StadiumNashville, TN ESPN L 1317   38,393
September 8 7:00 p.m. at Northwestern* Ryan FieldEvanston, IL BTN L 1323   31,644
September 15 11:30 a.m. Presbyterian* Vanderbilt Stadium • Nashville, TN CSS W 580   35,491
September 22 6:45 p.m. at No. 5 Georgia Sanford StadiumAthens, GA (Rivalry) ESPN2 L 348   92,746
October 6 6:00 p.m. at Missouri Faurot FieldColumbia, MO SECRN W 1915   66,250
October 13 5:00 p.m. No. 4 Florida Vanderbilt Stadium • Nashville, TN ESPNU L 1731   40,350
October 20 11:21 a.m. Auburn Vanderbilt Stadium • Nashville, TN SECN W 1713   40,350
October 27 6:08 p.m. Massachusetts*dagger Vanderbilt Stadium • Nashville, TN SECRN/NESN W 497   32,227
November 3 11:00 a.m. at Kentucky Commonwealth StadiumLexington, KY (Rivalry) ESPNU W 400   44,902
November 10 6:00 p.m. at Ole Miss Vaught–Hemingway StadiumOxford, MS (Rivalry) ESPNU W 2726   60,572
November 17 6:00 p.m. Tennessee Vanderbilt Stadium • Nashville, TN (Rivalry) ESPN2 W 4118   40,350
November 24 2:30 p.m. at Wake Forest* BB&T FieldWinston-Salem, NC ESPNU W 5521   26,134
December 31 11:00 a.m. vs. NC State* LP Field • Nashville, TN (Music City Bowl) ESPN W 3824   55,801
*Non-conference game. daggerHomecoming. #Rankings from AP Poll released prior to game. All times are in Central Time.

Coaching staff

Name Position Years at VU
James FranklinHead Coach2nd
John Donovan Offensive Coordinator / Running Backs Coach 2nd
Bob Shoop Defensive Coordinator / Safeties Coach 2nd
Charles Bankins Special Teams Coordinator / Tight Ends Coach2nd
Josh Gattis Wide Receivers Coach 1st
Herb Hand Offensive Line Coach4th
George Barlow Defensive Backs Coach1st
Ricky Rahne Quarterbacks Coach 2nd
Brent Pry Co-Defensive Coordinator / Linebackers Coach2nd
Sean Spencer Defensive Line Coach2nd
Andy Frank Assistant Director of Football Operations4th
Jemal Griffin Football Chief of Staff2nd
Ricky Rahne Offensive Coordinator / Quarterbacks Coach 2nd
Michael Hazel Director of Football Operations 4th
Norval McKenzie Assistant Recruiting Coordinator 4th
Joey Orck Offensive Graduate Assistant 4th
Tom Bossung Head Athletic Trainer 14th
Kevin Colon Associate Director of Student Athletics 2nd
Dwight Galt Football Strength and Conditioning Director 2nd
Chuck Losey Football Assistant Strength Coach 2nd
Kevin Threlkel Offensive Administrative Assistant 2nd
Luke Wyatt Head Equipment Manager 30th


Coaching changes

On January 13, 2012, Franklin announced the hiring of George Barlow, a defensive coordinator at the University of New Mexico in 2011. At Vanderbilt, he coached defensive backs and served as defensive recruiting coordinator. Josh Gattis, who helped Western Michigan to its fifth bowl game as a receivers coach in 2011, was hired at Vanderbilt as wide receiver coach and handled offensive recruiting coordinator duties.[14]


Number Name Position Class
67Wesley Johnson OT (RS) SR
31 Javon Marshall S (RS) JR
39Carey Spear PK JR
2Zac Stacy TB SR
98 Johnell Thomas DE (RS) SR
15Archibald Barnes OLB(RS) SR
11Jordan Rodgers QB(RS) SR
90 Walker May DE (RS) JR



Position Name Name Name
QBJordan Rodgers Austyn Carta-Samuels
RB + Zac Stacy Wesley Tate
WR Chris Boyd + Jordan Matthews Jonathan Krause
TE Austin Monahan
OTWesley Johnson Andrew Bridges
G Ryan Seymour Josh Jelesky
C Spencer Pulley


Position Name Name Name
DE Johnell ThomasWalker May
DT Rob Lohr
NT Colt Nichter
OLB Archibald Barnes Karl Butler
MLB Chase Garnham
CB Andre Hal Trey Wilson
SS Javon Marshall
FS Kenny Ladler


Position Name Name Name
P Richard Kent
K Ryan Fowler
H Richard Kent
LS Andrew East
KO Carey Spear
KRAndre Hal
PR Jonathan Krause

+ All SEC Second Team




Ranking movements
Legend: ██ Increase in ranking. ██ Decrease in ranking.
NR = Not ranked. RV = Received votes. ( ) = First place votes.
Poll Pre 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Final 
Harris Not released NR NR NR NR NR NR RV RV RV Not released 
BCS Not released NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR Not released

Game notes

South Carolina

Vanderbilt has played South Carolina 22 times and trails 4–18 the first meeting was in 1961 USC won the first seven 1962 to 1997 Vanderbilt won 2 in 98 and 99 USC won the next seven 2000 to 2006 Vandy won the next two and USC has won the last 4. The latest game was the first game of the college football year and played on ESPN.

1 234Total
#9 South Carolina 7 307 17
Vanderbilt 0 1030 13
  • Location: Nashville, Tennessee
  • Game start: 6:01 p.m.
  • Elapsed time: 3:15
  • Game attendance: 38,393
  • Game weather: 86°, Partly Cloudy
  • Referee: Matt Austin
  • TV announcers (ESPN): Rece Davis (play-by-play), David Pollack and Jesse Palmer (color), Samantha Steele (sideline)


Vanderbilt has played Northwestern 4 times with a 1–2–1 record, the teams first meeting was in 1947 Vanderbilt won 3–0, in 1962 played to a tie score at 20 and Northwestern has won the last two games 21–23 and 13–23

1 234Total
Vanderbilt 7 303 13
Northwestern 3 0317 23
  • Location: Evanston, Illinois
  • Game start: 7:03 p.m.
  • Elapsed time: 3:15
  • Game attendance: 31,644
  • Game weather: 71°, Mostly Cloudy
  • Referee: Matt Laeffler
  • Television network: Big Ten Network


This was the first meeting of Presbyterian and Vanderbilt. Jordan Rodgers did not play in this game.

1 234Total
Presbyterian 0 000 0
Vanderbilt 10 17283 58
  • Location: Nashville, Tennessee
  • Game start: 11:30 a.m.
  • Elapsed time: 3:03
  • Game attendance: 35,491
  • Game weather: 72°, Partly Cloudy
  • Referee: Jeff Hilyer
  • Television network: CSS


Secondary rival Georgia has played Vanderbilt 73 times dating back to 1893. Vanderbilt trails 18–53–2 Vandy was at one time ahead; from 1893 until 1961 Vandy was 14–9–1 from 1962 to present Vanderbilt trails with only 4 wins and 43 losses and 1 tie.

1 234Total
Vanderbilt 0 300 3
#5 Georgia 13 14210 48
  • Location: Athens, Georgia
  • Game start: 7:50 p.m.
  • Elapsed time: 3:15
  • Game attendance: 92,746
  • Game weather: 82°, Partly Cloudy
  • Referee: Hubert Owens
  • TV announcers (ESPN2): Mark Jones (play-by-play), Brock Huard (color), Shelley Smith (sideline)


Missouri and Vanderbilt have played 5 times in a tied series of 2–2–1 the first meeting was 1895. Vanderbilt lost the first 2 games 1895 0–14, 1896 6–26, tied the next 7–7 1957 and won 12–8 in 1958. This was the first meeting since 1958 only one of the five games has been played in Nashville 3 in Columbia, Mo. and 1 in Saint Louis.

1 234Total
Vanderbilt 2 7010 19
Missouri 6 036 15
  • Location: Columbia, Missouri
  • Game start: 6:08 p.m.
  • Elapsed time: 3:21
  • Game attendance: 66,250
  • Game weather: 48°, Cloudy
  • Referee: Penn Wagers
  • Television network: FSN


Vanderbilt and secondary rival Florida has played 46 times and trails 9–35–2. Vanderbilt lead for only a few years from 1945 when they first met until 1963 Vandy was 6–6–1 at that point; Vanderbilt has lost the last 22 games the last two have been somewhat close most have been one sided to the Florida side Vanderbilt lost in 1993 by 52 points.

Florida 31 Vanderbilt 17
1 234Total
#4 Florida 0 11713 31
Vanderbilt 7 0010 17
  • Location: Nashville, Tennessee
  • Game start: 5:00 p.m.
  • Elapsed time: 3:28
  • Game attendance: 40,350
  • Game weather: 76°, Mostly Cloudy
  • Referee: Matt Austin
  • TV announcers (ESPNU): Clay Matvick (play-by-play), Matt Stinchcomb (color), Jessica Mendoza (sideline)


Auburn and Vandy have met 41 time since 1893 Vandy leads by one game at 21–20–1 Vandy lost the first meeting and won the next 5, games tied 1, lost 2, won 2, lost 1, won 2, lost 1, won1, lost 1, Vandy won the next 8 Auburn won the next in 1955 Vanderbilt played in its first bowl game against Auburn Vandy won 25–13 from 1893 to 1955 Vandy and Auburn played 28 time Vandy lead 19–7–1. The teams did not play from 1956 to 1977 from 1978 to present the teams have played only 15 times Auburn won 13 straight games Vandy has won the last two. The 2008 game was a “ESPN College GameDay” game which Vandy won it made them at the time 5–0.

1 234Total
Auburn 0 1003 13
Vanderbilt 7 370 17
  • Location: Nashville, Tennessee
  • Game start: 11:21 a.m.
  • Elapsed time: 3:10
  • Game attendance: 40,350
  • Game weather: 59°, Cloudy
  • Referee: Matt Moore
  • TV announcers (SEC Network): Dave Neal (play-by-play), Andre Ware (color), Cara Capuano (sideline)

University of Massachusetts

UMass and Vandy is the first meeting of the schools. This was U Massachusetts first year in FBS.

1 234Total
Massachusetts 0 007 7
Vanderbilt 7 14280 49
  • Location: Nashville, Tennessee
  • Game start: 6:08 p.m.
  • Elapsed time: 3:13
  • Game attendance: 32,227
  • Game weather: 52°, Cloudy
  • Referee: Mike Conlin
  • Television network: FSN


Vanderbilt and secondary rival Kentucky have played 85 times dating back to 1896. Vanderbilt trails 40–41–4 Vandy won the first nine games from 1896 to 1918; in 1945 Vandy had a record of 19–2–1. The first 11 games Vandy did not give up a point outscoring Kentucky 267 to 0. Vandy has been shutout 7 times and has shutout Kentucky 15 times.

1 234Total
Vanderbilt 7 2076 40
Kentucky 0 000 0
  • Location: Lexington, Kentucky
  • Game start: 12:01 p.m.
  • Elapsed time: 2:57
  • Game attendance: 44,902
  • Game weather: 45°, Rain
  • Referee: Matt Moore
  • TV announcers (ESPNU): Tom Hart (play-by-play), John Congemi (color)

Ole Miss

Vandy Ole Miss Rivalry is one of the oldest in NCAA first meet in 1894. Vanderbilt trails 38–47–2. Vanderbilt won the first 16 games by shutouts, the first 19 games where won by Vandy. Vanderbilt outscored Ole Miss 566 to 14, with blowout wins in 1894 Vandy by 40, 1902 by 29, 1903 by 33, 1904 by 69, 1906 by 29, 1907 by 60, 1908 by 29, 1911 by 21, 1912 by 24, the biggest margin of defeat Ole Miss suffered was 1915 by 91, 1916 Vandy won by 35. They did not play every year until 1945 the 25 games were played in Tennessee 5 in Memphis and 20 in Nashville. 1948 the first game was played in Oxford, Vandy lost 7–20. From 1955 to 1962 Ole Miss shutout Vandy 7 times from 1945 to 1967 they played 20 years in a row Vandys record was 5–15–2. Since 1970 Vandy and Ole Miss has played every year (43 times), Vandy is 13–30–0. Since 2005 Vandy has won 6 games and the last 3 is the longest for Vandy since 1949 to 1951. The scoring has almost evened out through the years as Vandy has 1556 = 17.9 ppg and Ole Miss with 1610 = 18.5 ppg.

1 234Total
Vanderbilt 3 3147 27
Ole Miss 7 973 26
  • Location: Oxford, Mississippi
  • Game start: 6:06 p.m.
  • Elapsed time: 3:46
  • Game attendance: 60,572
  • Game weather: 72°, Fair
  • Referee: Marc Curles
  • TV announcers (ESPNU): Clay Matvick (play-by-play), Matt Stinchomb (color), Jessica Mendoza (sideline)


Vanderbilt and rival Tennessee have played 107 games first meeting was 1892 playing most every year from 1900 only missing only a few years, however since 1945 they have played every year (68 times). Vandy trails 29–73–5. In 1927 Vandy was 19–2–3 since the Vols has taken over with a record of 59–8–2. Vanderbilt has been shut out 22 times and shut out UT 15 games. The most points for Vandy is (76) 1913 76-0 and UT’s most points is (65) 1994 Vandy lost 0–65 the year before Vandy lost 14–62. The game on November 17, 2012 was the first time that Vanderbilt beat UT at home in 30 years. The Vanderbilt win was the largest margin of victory in the series since 1954 when Vandy won 26–0.

1 234Total
Tennessee 0 1008 18
Vanderbilt 3 10217 41
  • Date: November 17
  • Location: Nashville, Tennessee
  • Game start: 6:05 p.m.
  • Elapsed time: 3:38
  • Game attendance: 40,350
  • Game weather: 55°, Clear
  • Referee: Matt Loeffler
  • TV announcers (ESPN2): Mark Jones (play-by-play), Brock Huard (color), Shelley Smith (sideline)

Wake Forest

Wake Forest and Vanderbilt have played 14 times. Vandy leads 8–6, and the first meeting was in 1964.

1 234Total
Vanderbilt 7 211314 55
Wake Forest 7 077 21
  • Location: Winston-Salem, North Carolina
  • Game start: 3:32 p.m.
  • Elapsed time: 3:08
  • Game attendance: 26,134
  • Game weather: 47°, Clear
  • Referee: David Smith
  • Television network: ESPNU

NC State

Music City Bowl
1 234Total
NC State 0 14010 24
Vanderbilt 7 2137 38
  • Location: Nashville, Tennessee
  • Game start: 11:01 a.m.
  • Elapsed time: 3:20
  • Game attendance: 55,801
  • Game weather: 41°, Cloudy
  • Referee: Ron Snodgrass
  • Television network: ESPN


  1. Vanderbilt Stadium
  2. Lockridge, Jeff (February 6, 2012). "Q-and-A with Vanderbilt's David Williams". The Tennessean. Nashville. Retrieved February 6, 2012.
  3. Lockridge, Jeff (April 5, 2012). "Vanderbilt Commodores Plan Hillside Seating in Stadium". The Tennessean. Nashville. Retrieved April 5, 2012.
  4. Organ, Mike (July 12, 2012). "Vanderbilt Names David Williams Athletic Director". The Tennessean. Nashville. Retrieved July 12, 2012.
  5. http://scores.espn.go.com/ncf/recap?gameId=323660238
  6. http://scores.espn.go.com/ncf/recap?gameId=323290154
  7. Cole, Nick (July 12, 2012). "Vanderbilt Unveils New Football Uniforms". The Tennessean. Nashville. Retrieved July 12, 2012.
  8. "Former Maryland Quarterback O'Brien Granted Permission to Transfer to Vanderbilt". WNST. February 22, 2012. Retrieved February 22, 2012.
  9. Murschel, Matt (February 22, 2012). "Maryland's Grants Danny O'Brien Release, Can Transfer to Vandy". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved February 22, 2012.
  10. Chamberlain, Samuel (February 22, 2012). "Danny O'Brien Transfer: Maryland Officially Files Tampering Charge Against Vanderbilt". SB Nation. Washington DC. Retrieved February 22, 2012.
  11. Lockridge, Jeff (February 23, 2012). "Vanderbilt Will Look Into Tampering Complaint by Maryland". The Tennessean. Nashville. Retrieved February 23, 2012.
  12. SEC 2012 TV Schedule, Matt Sarz Sports, Retrieved April 12, 2012
  13. "Official Football Roster". vucommodores.com. Retrieved July 12, 2012.
  14. "Franklin Adds Barlow, Gattis to Football Staff". vucommodores.com. January 13, 2012. Retrieved January 13, 2012.
  15. "2012 Signing Day Central". vucommodores.com. February 1, 2012. Retrieved February 1, 2012.
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