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Vanderbilt Kicker Becomes First Woman To Score In ‘Power 5 Conference’ College Football Game

Vanderbilt Kicker Becomes First Woman To Score In ‘Power 5 Conference’ College Football Game

 

Sarah Fuller kicked a pair of extra points for Vanderbilt on Saturday, becoming the first woman to score in a Power Five conference college football game in Saturday’s 42-17 loss to Tennessee.

Her historic first point came with 1:50 remaining in the first quarter after quarterback Ken Seals threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Cam Johnson.

According to the Nashville Tennessean, “Fuller remained on the sideline for a few moments before holder Harrison Smith waved her on.”

She split the uprights to tie the game at 7.

“I was so excited,” Fuller said. “I was so happy we got the touchdown and I was ready to go out there and do my thing.”

“After all of the chaos, one of the refs handed me the ball,” she said. “And I would like to keep it, if that’s possible. That’s pretty cool.”

The football will reportedly stay with her.

Fuller, a senior and goalkeeper for Vanderbilt’s women’s soccer team, converted another extra point with 7:22 left in the game after Seals connected with Ben Bresnahan in the end zone for a 16-yard score. After her kick, the Commodores trailed 35-17. Fuller went 2-2 in the game. The ball from the second extra point is reportedly headed to the College Football Hall of Fame.

“This whole time has been if I can do it, if I’m good enough to do it,” Fuller said after the game. “It wasn’t if I was a girl or not. So that’s something that I’ve really appreciated. At the end of the day, they treated me like an athlete, and that’s the best I could ask for.”

The Commodores (0-9) are still on track for their first winless season in school history. They close the schedule at Georgia (7-2) next weekend.

The Tennessean described Vanderbilt’s roster as “depleted,” noting they played Saturday “with only 49 available scholarship players because of COVID-19, opt-outs, transfers and injuries in its first game since coach Derek Mason was fired on Nov. 29.”

It was Fuller’s second college football game. The 6-foot-2 senior joined the squad last month shortly after helping the university’s soccer team capture the Southeastern Conference tournament crown. She said she was “very shocked” when asked to consider joining the football team after several players had been required to quarantine due to COVID-19.

As the Associated Press reported:

Fuller made history as the first female to play in a Power Five conference game on Nov. 28 with a squib kick to open the second half. She has remained on the roster even as Vanderbilt’s other kickers – whose unavailability due to coronavirus quarantine led to her joining the roster – rejoined their team.

No woman before Fuller had appeared in an SEC game or for any Power Five team. Liz Heaston became the first woman to score in college football with two extra points for Willamette of NAIA on October 18, 1997.

Katie Hnida was the first woman to score at the Football Bowl Subdivision level with two extra points for New Mexico on Aug. 30, 2003.

April Goss was the second, with an extra point for Kent State in 2015. Tonya Butler was the first woman to kick a field goal in an NCAA game for Division II West Alabama on Sept. 13, 2003.

Fuller said she had kicked a 38-yard field goal in practice.

“Power Five” conferences are widely considered to feature the highest level of competition in college football. They include schools with teams in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), Big Ten Conference, Big 12 Conference, Pac-12 Conference, and the Southeastern Conference.

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