Vanderbilt kicker Sarah Fuller is the first woman to score a point in a Power Five conference college football game.
Fuller kicked two extra points in Vandy’s game against Tenneseee on Saturday. The first came with 1:50 to go in the first quarter and made her the first woman to score in a top-level college football game since Kent State’s April Goss in 2015.
“I was just excited, I was so happy that we got a touchdown and I was ready to go out and do my thing,” Fuller said after the game.
The game is Fuller’s second with Vanderbilt. She became the first woman to play in a Power Five game when Vanderbilt lost 41-0 to Missouri on Nov. 28. But the shutout loss meant that Fuller only kicked off once and never got a chance to attempt a field goal or an extra point. Fuller didn’t play on Dec. 5 because Vanderbilt didn’t have enough players available to play Georgia as the game was postponed to Dec. 19.
Fuller was the starting goalie for Vanderbilt’s women’s soccer team in 2020. She was asked to kick for the football team this season because the football team needed a kicker due to COVID-19 positives among its special teams group. Fuller was immediately available to kick because she was already in the athletic department’s COVID-19 testing protocol.
“I was here to help. I am part of the Vanderbilt family and I just wanted to help,” Fuller said.
Goss and New Mexico’s Katie Hnida are the only other two women to score points in an FBS college football game. Hnida became the first woman to score a point at the top level of college football when she kicked an extra point in 2003.
Fuller added a second extra point on Saturday with 7:51 to go in the fourth quarter after Vanderbilt scored its second TD of the game.
Sarah Fuller’s desire to send a positive message
Since Fuller’s kickoff against Missouri was her only action of the game it became a play that was scrutinized way too much. Five days after joining the team, Fuller was asked to do a squib kick toward the sideline to prevent a Missouri return.
The kick didn’t fly through the end zone. It wasn’t supposed to. And Fuller did exactly what she was supposed to do. A blocker for Missouri fielded the kick and didn’t return it for any gain.
While COVID-19 and the protocols around the highly contagious virus directly led to Fuller’s football career, she’s far from a pandemic fluke. If she was, she wouldn’t have stayed on the team roster after coach Derek Mason was fired the Sunday after the Missouri game. Or on top of the depth chart ahead of the postponed Georgia game. Or been put on the field to kick the extra point against Tennessee.
Fuller has proven herself as a legitimate college kicker over the last few weeks of the season despite her limited experience. And she told Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel last week that she was realizing how she had the massive opportunity to inspire others.
“I’m realizing that I have the capability to have a voice and send out a positive message,” Fuller said. “I’m really trying to think through that right now and getting advice from family and friends that I trust on how to use the platform correctly.”
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