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Vanderbilt Football Kicks Off The Year With Student Coaches

Student coaches: Vanderbilt’s first touchdown vs. Elon wasn’t called by Coach Franklin or Donovan. Instead, a quartet of students chose the play that led to the game’s first score.

Students Trent Palmberg, Stephanie Mills, Scott Guthrie and Prithvi Muddana played a part in Smith’s 15-yard touchdown pass to fullback Fitz Lassing in the first quarter. 

“We picked out a play that would give Larry [Smith] some confidence,” Palmberg said. “It had a hot route to the right and gave him a few receivers to hit either for short or maybe a little longer. … When they got into the touchdown territory, there was a similar situation. He called a similar play to that and it went in for a touchdown and we were ecstatic. We were really excited about it.”

In the spring, a Christian fraternity, Beta Upsilon Chi, held its annual “Male Sale,” in which fraternity brothers are auctioned off for routine services such as cleaning dorm rooms and cooking dinner. Franklin served as a celebrity judge for the talent show.

Impressed that the proceeds were going to the Christian Women’s Job Corps, Franklin decided to auction up a football package. It included going to dinner with Franklin, touring the football facilities, attending a practice, participating in the Star Walk, watching pregame workouts on the field and picking out a play.

“We felt like we were getting a celebrity experience,” Palmberg said. “We feel like we got a lot more than we deserved for what we paid. It was a pretty cool experience for a bunch of undergrads.”

Not only did the students have a great experience, but they were able to be part of a victory as Vanderbilt opened the season with a 45-14 win over Elon. The next game is at home this saturday at 6:30 when UConn comes town.