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Vanderbilt University senior Sarah Fuller makes college football history

The 21-year-old was recruited by Vanderbilt’s football team earlier this week after the team had to bench their specialists.
The senior goalie for Vanderbilt’s women’s soccer team made her debut at the Nov. 28 match-up against the University of Missouri.
The senior goalie for Vanderbilt’s women’s soccer team made her debut at the Nov. 28 match-up against the University of Missouri.Vanderbilt Athletics
/ Source: TODAY

Sarah Fuller, a senior at Vanderbilt University, made history Saturday afternoon as the first woman to play in a "Power 5" game in college football.

The senior goalie for Vanderbilt’s women’s soccer team made her debut at the Nov. 28 match-up against the University of Missouri, taking the field as a placekicker to begin the second half of the game.

Vanderbilt placekicker Sarah Fuller warms up before the start of an NCAA college football game against Missouri Saturday, Nov. 28, 2020, in Columbia, Mo.L.G. Patterson / AP

"History has been made!” NBC Sports tweeted alongside a video of her kick-off. “@VandyFootball's Sarah Fuller is officially the first woman in college football history to play in a Power 5 game. @OnHerTurf"

The 21-year-old was recruited by Vanderbilt’s football team earlier this week after the team had to bench their specialists due to COVID-19 contact tracing and possible exposure, according to NBC Sports.

“Right now, we’re just looking at all options,” head football coach Derek Mason told ESPN 102.5 The Game on Wednesday, Nov. 25. “For us, talking to Sarah, she’s a champ, and no pun intended. Just coming off an SEC Championship in soccer…She’s a complete competitor. She’s an option for us.”

On Friday night, Fuller tweeted, “Tomorrow I will be wearing 'Play Like a Girl' on the back of my helmet. @iplaylikeagirl is nonprofit that encourages girls to play sports and get exposure to STEM opportunities."

While the Wylie, Texas native is the first woman to play in a Power 5 game, she is the third to participate in a Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) game, following in the footsteps of Katie Hnida from the University of New Mexico and April Goss from Kent State University.

“I think it’s amazing and incredible,” Fuller told Vanderbilt’s team’s 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 in on what I need to do. I don’t want to let them down in anyway.”

She added, “It’s an honor they called on me to be able to do this and help them out.”

Missouri won the game 41-0, leaving Vanderbilt 0-7 for the season. After the game, Fuller told the SEC Network that she wasn't nervous when she stepped out on the field for her historic play.

"Honestly, I was just really calm. The SEC championship was more stressful," she said. "But I was very excited to step out on the field and do my thing."

"I represent the little girls out there who wanted to do this or have thought about playing football or any sport, really," she continued. "I just want to tell all the girls out there that you can do anything you set your mind to, you really can. If you have that mentality all the way through, you can do big things."

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