Vanderbilt all-star defensive back (and sometime wide receiver) D.J. Moore was named the National Defensive Player of the Week by the Walter Camp Football Foundation for his unbelievable performance in the Commodores' 31-24 victory over the Kentucky Wildcats that clinched VU's first bowl berth in more than quarter-century.
"It feels so good to get out and get our sixth win," Moore said. "We have been waiting awhile to get here after starting the season going 5-0. Since then we have gone 5-4 and it feels like a ton of bricks has been taken off our back after this game. We still have two games to play and we want to get two more wins to end the season."
Moore, a junior from Spartanburg, S.C, provided a pair of key interceptions in the Commodore win, including the game clincher with 2:07 left in the fourth that sealed Vanderbilt's sixth win of the season.
Moore also enjoys the rare distinction of likely earning consideration for the Camp Foundation's National Offensive Player of the Week honor. While seeing the most action at receiver in his career, Moore scored touchdowns on the first two career receptions, helping the Commodores strike first for the first time this season.
“I can't say enough about D.J., just a remarkable performance,” Vanderbilt Head Coach Bobby Johnson said. “He had such an impact for us in this win, making one big play after another. It was simply another remarkable effort from a guy that just has a knack for making big, big plays. This honor couldn't have gone to a more deserving player.”
It also marks the second time Moore has captured National Defensive Player of the Week honors from the Walter Camp organization. Last year, Moore was recognized after nabbing two interceptions in Vanderbilt's 17-6 road win at No. 6 ranked South Carolina.
Moore's first interception came in the second quarter after Kentucky had narrowed the Commodore lead to 14-7. The pick gave Vanderbilt possession deep in Wildcat territory, with the Commodores pushing the margin to 21-7 three plays later when quarterback Chris Nickson hit tight end Brandon Barden on a 1-yard touchdown.
Moore's final big defensive play came on Kentucky's last threat to send the game into overtime. With the Wildcats deep in Vanderbilt territory, Moore stepped in front of a Kentucky receiver to pick off Randall Cobb's fourth down pass.
Moore's six interceptions this season gives him a share of the national lead with seven others. He has 13 interceptions, tops among active players in the SEC and tied for second all-time among Commodores behind 15-interception total by former Vanderbilt All-American Leonard Coleman.
SEC sports information contributed to this post.