Sarah Fuller, a kicker from Vanderbilt, made college football history on Saturday, becoming the first woman to play in a Power 5 game. The achievement led to her being named SEC Special Teams Player of the Week on Monday, as reported by ESPN. Fuller, who is also on the women's soccer team, kicked off to start the second half of the team's contest against Missouri. It would be the only time Fuller would appear in the game as Vanderbilt lost 41-0.
Fuller is now the third woman to appear in an FBS game, joining Katie Hnida of New Mexico and April Goss of Kent State. Derek Mason, who was fired as Vanderbilt's head coach on Sunday, said he wanted Fuller to stay on as she was brought in due to the team being short on specialists since they were quarantined after COVID-19 testing. Fuller told reporters that she's staying until someone tells her to leave.
"I would love to learn more, so if those guys come out of quarantine, I would love to learn from them and their experience," Fuller said. "I've been having a lot of fun doing this. It's a challenge for me, but it's something I know I can do. It's applicable from doing a goal kick to a field goal kick, so I want to continue learning, and if those guys can help me, I'm all for it."
The school newspaper, the Vanderbilt Hustler, reported Fuller began practicing with the team last week. On Friday, it was announced she would dress for Saturday's game, and she was on her way to making history. "I think it’s amazing and incredible", Fuller said on Vanderbilt's official website. "But I'm also trying to separate that because I know this is a job I need to do and I want to help the team out and I want to do the best that I can. Placing that historical aspect aside just helps me focus on what I need to do. I don’t want to let them down in any way."
Fuller is the one good thing the Commodores have going for them this season. Currently, Vanderbilt is 0-8 and in danger of suffering its first winless season in school history. The last time the Commodores had a winning record was in 2013, finishing 9-4 under then-head coach James Franklin.