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Vanderbilt’s Sarah Fuller Just Made Football History

Sarah Fuller makes football history

Vanderbilt’s Sarah Fuller has made history as the first woman to play in a Power 5 football game, kicking off for Vanderbilt against Missouri.

I freely admit to knowing very little about football, and if you’re in my football-less boat, here’s what “Power 5” refers to, per Wikipedia: “In college football, the term Power Five conferences refers to five athletic conferences whose members are part of the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) of NCAA Division I, the highest level of collegiate football in the United States.” I also freely admit to wishing that the sport of football be abandoned and left as a relic of the past, but if we must have football, I’m here to celebrate Fuller’s barrier-breaking and history-making moment.

NPR writes that the decision to add Fuller to Vanderbilt’s roster as a kicker came earlier in the week, reportedly “after several team specialists entered quarantines related to COVID-19.” Fuller was already well-known in Vanderbilt sports, serving as a goalkeeper of the women’s soccer team.

Fuller’s historic kickoff in the third quarter of Saturday’s game sent the ball 30 yards to the opposing team’s 35-yard line. Missouri did not return the kick. Despite Fuller making college football history, Vanderbilt was crushed by Missouri, losing the game 0-41.

Fuller is just the third woman to play in the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision, after Katie Hnida of New Mexico and April Goss of Kent State, according to ESPN. Liz Heaston was the first woman to play — and score — in a college football game, kicking two extra points that helped lead Willamette University to victory against Linfield College on Oct. 18, 1997.

Also, she was great:

My own personal feelings about football notwithstanding, this is an important day in sports history. Fuller’s accomplishment will mean a lot to many people watching, and the impact of her out on that field will resound.

(via NPR, image: Twitter screengrab)

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Kaila Hale-Stern (she/her) is a content director, editor, and writer who has been working in digital media for more than fifteen years. She started at TMS in 2016. She loves to write about TV—especially science fiction, fantasy, and mystery shows—and movies, with an emphasis on Marvel. Talk to her about fandom, queer representation, and Captain Kirk. Kaila has written for io9, Gizmodo, New York Magazine, The Awl, Wired, Cosmopolitan, and once published a Harlequin novel you'll never find.