The 1891 Vanderbilt Commodores football team represented Vanderbilt University during the 1891 college football season. The team's head coach and team captain was Elliott H. Jones, who served his second season in that capacity. This was the first year that Vanderbilt had a schedule of opponents other than the school next door to them. Vanderbilt and Sewanee, charter members of the Southern Intercollegiate Conference,play their first game. The rivalry, typically reserved for Thanksgiving Day, continues into World War II. When the series ended in 1944, Vanderbilt owned a 40-8-4 advantage.
The 1891 Vanderbilt team had five games scheduled; however, the fourth was Centre College of Danville, KY. The game was set for November 21, 1891, at Nashville’s Athletic Park (later known as Sulphur Dell) at 3 p.m. Vanderbilt called the game due to excessive rain. The Centre team’s hotel bill and the game advertising was for paid by Vanderbilt. The university also paid $45.00 in cash to help pay for their return train fare.
Vanderbilt opened the short season with a 22-0 win over Sewanee, followed by its first-ever loss, 6-24 to Washington (St. Louis). The Commodores won the rematch at St. Louis, 4-0 and concluded the season by defeating Sewanee again, 26-4.