Sarah Fuller made her mark Saturday as the first woman to appear in a Power 5 football game, booting the second-half kickoff for Vanderbilt in the Commodores’ 41-0 loss to conference rival Missouri. Shorthanded due to COVID, Vanderbilt invited Fuller, a senior goalkeeper on the women’s soccer team, to practice with the team earlier this week. Evidently the coaching staff saw enough to promote her to the active roster, setting the stage for Fuller’s landmark debut.
The 6’2” Fuller wasn’t asked to do much—the winless Commodores never came close to scoring against Mizzou. But she made the most of her lone opportunity, executing a well-placed 30-yard squib kick to Mason Pack, who fell on it at the Tigers’ 35-yard-line. In doing so, Fuller became just the third woman to appear in an FBS game, following in the footsteps of Katie Hnida, who drilled a pair of PATs for New Mexico in 2003, and April Goss of Kent State, who also split the uprights on an extra point, with her feat occurring in 2015. The Texas native shared an inspiring message after the game, encouraging the next generation of female athletes to break even more barriers.
Though a handful of trolls predictably used the occasion as an excuse to spew sexist remarks, social media response to the 21-year-old’s groundbreaking achievement was largely positive. Fellow Vanderbilt alum David Price and PFT Commenter of Barstool Sports, who tried out as a kicker for the XFL’s DC Defenders earlier this year, both commended Fuller on Saturday’s milestone.
Andrea Adelson, Alyssa Lang, Pat McAfee and Holly Rowe were similarly supportive on Twitter.
Fuller, who claimed she was more nervous playing goalie in the SEC Championship than she was Saturday, made history with both parents in attendance. Vandy may not win a game this year—the Commodores’ finale against 13th-ranked Georgia in Athens next week presents another daunting challenge. But that doesn’t make what transpired Saturday any less remarkable.