On Saturday, Nov. 28, Vanderbilt scholar and senior athlete Sarah Fuller made history as the first female to set foot in a Power Five football game. The Vanderbilt football team, who is 0-8 in their season, played the Missouri Tigers who are 4-3. The score ended up with Missouri having 41 points and Vanderbilt 0.
Fuller heard that Vanderbilt needed a kicker because players were out due to Covid-19. She was a goalkeeper for Vanderbilt’s girl soccer team, so she knew she could kick. Fuller received a call from the Vanderbilt football coach, Derek Mason, asking if she could kick for the team during the Missouri game, and she agreed. After her final game and season for the soccer team, she went on to play for the football team.
“I think that what she is doing is great, and as long as she is happy, then she should go for it,” sophomore Lilly Van Wyk said. “Also I hope that she is inspiring other girls who might want to play or to tryout for their school teams”
Fuller came on to start the second half with a kickoff wearing number 32, the same as her soccer jersey. When the players came back onto the field the score was Missouri 21 and Vanderbilt 0. Fuller squib kicked the ball 30 yards to the opponents 35 yard line with a Missouri player landing on top of the ball. On the back of Fuller’s helmet was a message that said “play like a girl.” Fuller wants to be an influence and encourage more girls to play sports and stick with their dreams.
“I think it’s amazing that she had the opportunity to do that, and if a girl can outwork and outperform guys there’s no reason she shouldn’t be able to play college football,” junior Kate Krizner said. “I have such respect for what she was able to do and think it’s so cool that she set an example for girls across the country of what it looks like to work hard and succeed despite challenges.”
Mason was fired the next day on Sunday, Nov. 29. He had an 0-8 record that season and a 27-55 record in his six seasons of coaching for Vanderbilt. Fuller plans to continue kicking for Vanderbilt and is traveling with the team to their game against Georgia on Saturday Dec. 5. It has not been decided on whether she will start or not.
“I think it’s so cool what she’s able to do!” senior Ramsay Grant said. “It’s definitely super inspiring for anyone who wants to follow in her footsteps.”