NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -No, really. Vanderbilt is going to keep up the momentum after beating a ranked team this time.
At least, they know they have to if they want to be taken seriously after beating then-No. 24 South Carolina 24-17 on Thursday.
``This ups the ante,'' coach Bobby Johnson said. ``We have a responsibility to keep playing this way.''
The Commodores have been here before. Vanderbilt toppled then-No. 6 South Carolina in 2007 and then-No. 16 Georgia in 2006. Neither upset led to any great success. Last year's toppling of the Gamecocks was followed by a win over Miami (Ohio) and four straight losses to finish 5-7. After bumping off Georgia, the Commodores lost four of five to end the season 4-8.
``You can't just hang your hat on one or two games here or there or on one big win,'' Johnson said. ``We need to keep it going.''
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Not that any of that will matter if they have a letdown against high-scoring Rice (2-0) on Saturday. The Owls opened with a 56-27 dismantling of SMU before winning 42-35 in Memphis last weekend.
``We've worked hard to try to get a big win at home. Now that we've done it, we've got to prove that's what we've been preparing for,'' Johnson said. ``If we have been preparing for it, we'll go out and practice hard this week and be ready to play when game time comes,'' he said.
Vanderbilt's victory last week came on national television. Johnson, who was on the road recruiting over the weekend, discovered the impact on a national TV win after he was stopped by fans in airports.
Media and coaches noticed, too. The Commodores received seven votes in The Associated Press poll, though most remain wary of the Commodores, perennial SEC doormats who have 25-straight losing seasons, three short of the NCAA record.
The Commodores still have non-conference games against Duke and Wake Forest, and play both Mississippi schools and Auburn in addition to five SEC East opponents. Vanderbilt's last bowl appearance was a loss to Air Force in the Hall of Fame Bowl after they went 8-4.
Johnson would like to get the Commodores' back to the postseason, and to do so, can't allow for any regression after a strong 2-0 start.
`People are going to be coming after us even more. We know Rice isn't going to lay down for us. No team we play is going to lay down for us. We're still proving ourselves. We can't get comfortable.''
Against South Carolina, Vanderbilt outscored the Gamecocks 21-7 in the second half. Late in the game, the Commodores produced two key quarterback sacks and churned out a clock-eating drive to seal the win.
``We just grinded it out,'' center Bradley Vierling said. ``I think we had a little more energy than they did at the end of the game and a little more fire. I think we just wanted to win a little more than they did, to be honest with you.''

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