Vanderbilt University senior Sarah Fuller made history on Saturday, becoming the first woman to play in a Power 5 football game.
The Power 5 refers to the five largest athletic conferences in college football: the Southeastern (SEC), Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and Atlantic Coast (ACC) conferences.
Fuller’s big moment came during Vanderbilt’s game at Missouri when she kicked off the second half. The Missouri crowd cheered and applauded as she took the history-making kick.
As Vanderbilt Athletics noted on its website, Fuller — a goalie on Vanderbilt’s women’s soccer team — is a newly minted member of the school’s football squad.
She only got the call to try out about a week ago, after several specialists on the team were benched due to COVID-19 quarantining. Head football coach Derek Mason added her to the roster after Fuller wowed the coaching staff during tryouts, making field goal after field goal.
“It’s different than a soccer ball, but it felt good,” Fuller told Vanderbilt Athletics of the experience.
Fuller is the third woman to play in a Football Bowl Subdivision game. Katie Hnida was the first in 2003 when she kicked two extra points for New Mexico against Texas State; in 2015, April Goss scored an extra point for Kent State against Delaware State.
“I think it’s amazing and incredible,” Fuller told Vanderbilt earlier this week of the opportunity to continue shattering glass ceilings. “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 any way.”
Vanderbilt lost the game to Missouri, 41-0, but Fuller’s addition to the team was celebrated as a big win.