American Football Database
2012 Vanderbilt Commodores football
Music City Bowl Champions
Music City Bowl vs. NC State, W 38–24
ConferenceSoutheastern Conference
DivisionEastern Division
2012 record9–4 (5–3 SEC)
Head coachJames Franklin (2nd season)
Offensive coordinatorJohn Donovan (2nd season)
Offensive schemeWest Coast Offense
Defensive coordinatorBob Shoop (2nd season)
Base defense4-3
Home stadiumVanderbilt Stadium
← 2011
2013 →
2012 SEC football standings
v · d · e Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
Eastern Division
Florida   0 0         0 0  
Georgia   0 0         0 0  
Kentucky   0 0         0 0  
Missouri   0 0         0 0  
South Carolina   0 0         0 0  
Tennessee   0 0         0 0  
Vanderbilt   0 0         0 0  
Western Division
Alabama   0 0         0 0  
Arkansas   0 0         0 0  
Auburn   0 0         0 0  
LSU   0 0         0 0  
Mississippi State   0 0         0 0  
Ole Miss   0 0         0 0  
Texas A&M   0 0         0 0  
Championship: December 1, 2012
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 for the first time in school history in back to back years. 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 is ranked at the end of the season.

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 serve 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.

  • The longest road winning streak (4) since 1950
  • Longest win streak (7) since 1948. [5]
  • Most times scoring 40 (5) or more points since 1915.
  • First Vandy player (Zac Stacy) to rush for over 3000 yards in career
  • First time since 1949-1951 that Vanderbilt beats Rival Ole Miss in consecutive years.
  • Jordan Matthews set a single-season record with 1,262 yards receiving.
  • Kicker Carey Spear school record 81 points.
  • Largest margin of victory over Rival Tennessee (23) 41-18 since 1954 (26-0)
  • Largest margin of victory against secondary rival Kentucky (40) since 1916 when Vanderbilt won 45-0
  • First time a Vanderbilt team to a bowl in back to back years
  • First win at home vs Tennessee in 30 years
  • First 8 win season since 1982
  • Longest rush from scrimmage 90 Zac Stacy.
  • First winning record in the regular season since 1982
  • Four straight wins in SEC play for the first time since 1949
  • The first time in Vanderbilt history a player (Zac Stacy) has rushed for over 1000 yards back to back years.
  • The first 9 win season since 1915


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]

File:Black and gold helm and white.png

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 Files Tampering Charge 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 PM #8 South Carolina Vanderbilt StadiumNashville, TN ESPN L 13–17   38,393
September 8* 7:00 PM at Northwestern Ryan FieldEvanston, IL BTN L 13–23   31,644
September 15* 11:30 PM (FCS) Presbyterian Vanderbilt Stadium • Nashville, TN CSS W 58–0   35,491
September 22 6:45 PM at #5 Georgia Sanford StadiumAthens, GA ESPN2 L 3–48   92,746
October 6 6:00 PM at Missouri Faurot FieldColumbia, MO SECRN W 19–15   66,250
October 13 5:00 PM #4 Florida Vanderbilt Stadium • Nashville, TN ESPNU L 17–31   40,350
October 20 11:21 AM Auburn Vanderbilt Stadium • Nashville, TN SECN W 17–13   40,350
October 27*† 6:08 PM Massachusetts Vanderbilt Stadium • Nashville, TN SECRN/NESN W 49–7   32,227
November 3 11:00 AM at Kentucky Commonwealth StadiumLexington, KY ESPNU W 40–0   44,902
November 10 6:00 PM at Ole Miss Vaught–Hemingway StadiumOxford, MS (Rivalry) ESPNU W 27–26   60,572
November 17 6:00 PM Tennessee Vanderbilt Stadium • Nashville, TN (Rivalry) ESPN2 W 41–18   40,350
November 24* 2:30 PM at Wake Forest BB&T FieldWinston-Salem, NC ESPNU W 55–21   26,134
December 31* 11:00 AM vs. NC State LP Field • Nashville, TN (Music City Bowl) ESPN W 38–24   55,801
*Non-Conference Game. Homecoming. #Rankings from AP Poll released prior to game. All times are in Central Time.

Coaching staff

Name Position Years at VU
James Franklin Head Coach 1
John Donovan Offensive Coordinator / Running Backs Coach 1
Bob Shoop Defensive Coordinator / Safeties Coach 1
Charles Bankins Special Teams Coordinator / Tight Ends Coach 1
Josh Gattis Wide Receivers Coach 0
Herb Hand Offensive Line Coach 3
George Barlow Defensive Backs Coach 0
Ricky Rahne Quarterbacks Coach 1
Brent Pry Co-Defensive Coordinator / Linebackers Coach 1
Sean Spencer Defensive Line Coach 1
Andy Frank Assistant Director of Football Operations 3
Jemal Griffin Football Chief of Staff 1
Ricky Rahne Offensive Coordinator / Quarterbacks Coach 1
Michael Hazel Director of Football Operations 3
Norval McKenzie Assistant Recruiting Coordinator 3
Joey Orck Offensive Graduate Assistant 3
Tom Bossung Head Athletic Trainer 13
Kevin Colon Associate Director of Student Athletics 1
Dwight Galt Football Strength and Conditioning Director 1
Chuck Losey Football Assistant Strength Coach 1
Kevin Threlkel Offensive Administrative Assistant 1
Luke Wyatt Head Equipment Manager 29


Coaching changes

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


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



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


Position Name Name Name
DE Johnell Thomas Walker 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
KR Andre Hal
PR Jonathan Krause

+ All SEC Second Team


  • Austyn Carta-Samuels Transferred to Vanderbilt from Wyoming. Contributed as practice squad quarterback during 2011 regular season. 2009 Earned postseason Mountain West Conference Freshman of the Year honors.