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Vanderbilt Vaults Over Rocky Top

November 20, 2005|From the Associated Press

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Vanderbilt ended 22 years of misery and Rocky Top hit rock bottom.

Earl Bennett caught a five-yard touchdown pass from Jay Cutler with 1 minute 11 seconds to go and the Commodores beat Tennessee, 28-24, on Saturday.

Vanderbilt (5-6, 3-5 SEC) won in Neyland Stadium for the first time since 1975, and its overall losing streak against Tennessee dating to 1982 was the second-longest between major teams in Division I-A. Notre Dame's 42-game winning streak over Navy is the longest.

"You see grown men crying and you realize how long it's been since we've won," Cutler said. "It tells us how much it means to this program."

The Volunteers (4-6, 2-5) will finish without a winning record and not be eligible for a bowl for the first time since 1988, another crushing blow in the worst season in Coach Phillip Fulmer's 14-year tenure.

"Before you start building back anything, you have to hit rock bottom. This is rock bottom," Fulmer said.

Tennessee had time for a comeback and moved the ball inside the Vanderbilt 20, but Rick Clausen threw two incomplete passes and his final pass was intercepted by Jared Fagan.

Clausen went 11 of 25 for 125 yards in his final home game.

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