Vanderbilt's Jordan Matthews goes out with MVP honors

Vanderbilt's Jordan Matthews goes out with MVP honors

January 5th, 2014 by David Paschall in Sports - College

Vanderbilt wide receiver Jordan Matthews catches a pass in front of Houston defensive back Trevon Stewart during the BBVA Compass Bowl in Birmingham, Ala., Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014.

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Vanderbilt senior receiver Jordan Matthews ended his college career in typical fashion, going over 100 yards and making a difference.

Matthews was named the BBVA Compass Bowl MVP after amassing 143 yards and two touchdowns on five receptions during Saturday's 41-24 win over Houston at Legion Field. It was the first career two-touchdown game for the 6-foot-3, 206-pound All-SEC performer from Hueytown, Ala.

All five of his catches occurred in the first half, when the Commodores built a 24-0 lead.

"A lot of people made a big deal about me coming back home and playing, but it's never that sweet unless you get the win," Matthews said. "The most satisfying thing was going out there with my teammates and playing with full team effort. In the second half, we leaned on [tailbacks] Jerron Seymour and Brian Kimbrow, and I think that's a testament to the kind of team that we have and how balanced of an offense that we are."

Vanderbilt quarterback Patton Robinette completed 6 of 14 passes for 154 yards with two touchdowns and an interception in the first half. Robinette was 0-for-5 with an interception in the second half.

Matthews finishes his career with 262 receptions for 3,759 yards and 24 touchdowns. Saturday was his 19th career 100-yard game.

Nine wins a year

Redshirt freshman guard Barrett Gouger has been a part of an 18-8 program in the two seasons since graduating from Baylor School, including the Commodores' 16-4 mark in their last 20 games. Gouger was listed Saturday as the backup center but was a backup guard for most of the year and made a start against Missouri in a tackle-eligible role.

"This has been such a great feeling, and I wouldn't want to be anywhere else," Gouger said on the field after the game. "Winning nine games back to back is awesome. We had a good season, and I'm proud for all of us for working so hard."

Ambles finally erupts

Houston junior receiver Markeith Ambles was a headache for Vanderbilt four years after being a headache for Tennessee.

Ambles was Rivals.com's No. 3 receiver nationally in the 2010 signing class and committed to Lane Kiffin's Volunteers in July 2009. When Kiffin left Knoxville for Southern Cal in January 2010, however, Ambles followed him by signing with the Trojans.

He played one season at USC and one season at Arizona Western Community College before joining Houston's program late this past summer. The 6-foot-2, 215-pounder from Henry County High in McDonough, Ga., had 11 catches for 147 yards all season before making six for 105 and a touchdown against the Commodores.

"He is in shape now and has a great understanding of what we are trying to do offensively," Houston coach Tony Levine said. "He has improved so much in these last six weeks or so."

Odds and ends

Carey Spear's 24-yard field goal with 10:27 to go in the second quarter gave the Commodores a 17-0 lead, and it set a Vanderbilt single-season record with 93 points. Spear, who finished his senior year with 99 points, broke Jack Jenkins' mark of 90 set in 1941. ... Houston's coaching staff includes defensive coordinator David Gibbs, who held the same job at Auburn in 2005, and defensive line coach Ricky Logo, who held the same job at UTC from 1995 to 2000 and at Vanderbilt from 2007 to 2010. ... Next year's bowl will have a new title sponsor.

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.