Vanderbilt's Goff makes the plays

Four minutes remaining in the third quarter and Vanderbilt's trailing seventh ranked Florida, 25-6. The Gator offense just made another big gain. The Lincoln Financial announcer exclaims, "Vandy's defense is starting to get worn down." Vanderbilt needed a big defensive play and linebacker Jonathon Goff was there to provide it.

On the next play, eight-yards behind the line of scrimmage, a crushing sound is heard. Goff has slammed Chris Leak to the ground.

The sack of Leak was just one of Goff's big plays during an impressive showing against Florida on Saturday. Goff also registered 9 tackles, an additional tackle for a loss and a huge interception of Leak that ended a Gator scoring threat deep in Vanderbilt territory late in the first half.

Goff, a team captain, was always considered a leader on defense and has led the team in tackles all season. However, big plays seemed be lacking for Goff compared to other defensive stars such as Curtis Gatewood and Marcus Buggs.

Vanderbilt head coach Bobby Johnson was pleased to see Goff get the timely sack, "We wanted Jonathan Goff to get more aggressive rushing the passer this year and he busted through there," said Johnson.

Goff's fellow starting linebackers, Kevin Joyce and Marcus Buggs, also had sacks in addition to a sack by former linebacker Curtis Gatewood.

After the game the ever-humble Goff gave credit for his play to others, commenting that improved defensive line play and an overall more athletic defensive unit was helping the defense make more plays.

"I think we are a little more aggressive, a little more athletic on defense. It seems like we have more guys knowing what to do on the plays," said Goff.

This week Vanderbilt faces another tough battle, this time against the much improved 5-4 (3-3 SEC) Kentucky Wildcats. Goff, the #3 tackler in the SEC with 82, remembers the debacle against Kentucky last season at Vanderbilt Stadium. In a game that cost Vanderbilt a bowl bid, Vanderbilt fell behind 41-10 in the third quarter before rallying only to lose 48-43. The Commodores played flat through most of the game on offense, defense and special teams before waking up late in the third quarter.

Goff knows the Commodores must play better in every aspect of the game to have a chance to win. "You have to play well on offense, defense and special teams. You can't afford to slack off in any one of them and expect to win," said Goff.

Kickoff is on Saturday at noon central time at Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington, Kentucky. Top Stories