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Vanderbilt kicker Sarah Fuller first woman to score in Power 5 football game

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Sarah Fuller became the first woman to score in a Power 5 conference football game, cleanly kicking a pair of extra points for Vanderbilt in a 42-17 loss to Tennessee on Saturday.

The goalkeeper for Vanderbilt’s Southeastern Conference women’s soccer champs made both of her kicks — to the cheers of her teammates and family.

“This whole time has been if I can do it, if I’m good enough to do it,” Fuller said after the game. “It wasn’t if I was a girl or not. So that’s something I’ve really appreciated. At the end of the day, they treated me like an athlete and that’s the best I could ask for.”

Fuller got her historic chance with 1 minute, 50 seconds left in the first quarter.

Listed second out of three available kickers on the depth chart, Fuller came out to try the extra point. The 6-foot-2 senior put the ball through the uprights to tie the game at 7 and celebrated by pulling her fist in before slapping high-fives with teammates.

Fuller walked off the field sporting a big smile as her family in the stands looked on with their arms up in the air. Center judge Chris Garner made sure to give Fuller the ball, the official bringing it to her at the sideline.

Vanderbilt gave Fuller another chance with 7:22 left in the game. Ken Seals hit Ben Bresnahan with a 16-yard TD pass, and Fuller went back out. She kicked the extra point through as the Commodores closed to 35-17.

Fuller made history as the first woman to play in a Power 5 conference game on Nov. 28 with a squib kickoff to open the second half at Missouri. She has remained on the roster even as Vanderbilt’s other kickers came out of quarantine and rejoined the team.

Vanderbilt coach Todd Fitch said after the game that the plan was for Fuller to handle kicks inside the 10-yard line, as she proved to be the most accurate among the team’s available kickers in that range.

“She’s been accurate in that area of the field,” Fitch said. “… We get in the game and she was highly accurate with it in that range, the extra points and inside the 10, so she was going to get those. The other kickers were going to get it further back.

“It was truly off statistics of the week’s preparation. It wasn’t about trying to do something special. It was truly who made most of those kicks.”

The Commodores finished 0-9 this season.

No woman before Fuller had appeared in an SEC game or for any Power 5 team. Liz Heaston became the first woman to score in college football with two extra points for Willamette of NAIA on Oct. 18, 1997.

Katie Hnida was the first woman to score at the Football Bowl Subdivision level with two extra points for New Mexico on Aug. 30, 2003. April Goss was the second, with an extra point for Kent State in 2015. Tonya Butler was the first woman to kick a field goal in an NCAA game for Division II West Alabama on Sept. 13, 2003.

The Associated Press contributed to that report.

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