Vandy renews MTSU series with payback in mind

Wednesday, March 26, 2008 at 2:03am

Vanderbilt believed it had good reasons to renew its football series with Middle Tennessee State.

Three, to be exact.

The Blue Raiders have defeated the Commodores three straight times, most recently in 2005. Adding insult to injury, each MTSU victory came at Vanderbilt Stadium.

The schools announced Tuesday they have entered into a four-game series scheduled to begin in 2015. They will play in Murfreesboro in 2015 and 2017 with games slated for Nashville in 2016 and 2018.

Vanderbilt Vice Chancellor David Williams, who oversees athletics, said the school had not been avoiding MTSU despite recent Blue Raider dominance.

“Nothing could be further from the truth,” he said. “We’re not going to drop Middle because they beat us three times. We owe them. We can’t wait to play them. My only unhappiness with this is we have to wait until 2015, but that’s unavoidable.”

The schools had been slated to play in 2006, but Vanderbilt was asked by ESPN to reschedule and open the season at Michigan. VU obliged and dropped a 27-7 decision to the Wolverines.

Since then, Vanderbilt and MTSU officials have worked to restart their series.

”At that point in time, we said we would work very, very hard to re-schedule MTSU,” Williams said. “We also promised at that time that we would go a little further and return a game to their place.

“We think this is an extremely important series. It’s kind of one of those backyard brawls for bragging rights. Also, for both schools, it allows us to keep fans in the area. We think it brings a lot to our campus, to their campus and to the entire area.”

Vanderbilt coach Bobby Johnson is also pleased.

“It was never as simple as people think it was to get it done, but I think it’s a good series and we ought to be playing it,” he said. “I think it will draw a lot of interest in this area. It’s a natural game.”

Vanderbilt has played in Murfreesboro only once [1920] in the 15-game history of the VU-MTSU series, which began in 1915.

While most Southeastern Conference schools would be reluctant to travel to play a Sun Belt Conference opponent, Williams said Vanderbilt had no hesitation in this case.

“We try to be fair in those sort of things,” he said. “They’ve played three games here in a row. It was a good thing to do. For us, it’s kind of like having a home game on the road because our fans can go there.

“We didn’t look at it as reaching down. They’re a competitor with us.”

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By: frank brown on 12/31/69 at 6:00

I am a Vanderbilt observer of 60 years. MTSU's football program will remain mediocre by any standard that I measure by. They will however win all four games against Vanderbilt.

By: gdiafante on 12/31/69 at 6:00

You are just like MTSU's program Frank.

By: OneTimer on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Vandy can win at Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee, but can't beat MTSU. I guess they play down to their competition.

By: TITAN1 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Wow, frank predicting games 7 to 11 years into the future. frank, who knows, you might be a REAL fan by then, so you might want to refrain from looking into your cracked crystal ball for a few years.

By: courier37027 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Is basketball season over already? Are Vandy football fams talking about next year?Hey Kentucky hoops fans, where's your team playing this week?

By: frank brown on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Titan, I have 60 years of experience with Vanderbilt. I don't need a crystal ball I have history to guide me.

By: TITAN1 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Just like frank, living in the past.