It was no secret that Kentucky really needed to beat Vanderbilt to make their road to bowl eligibility much easier. They also desperately needed a win to bounce back from the gut wrenching loss to Tennessee last week that saw them run for over 300 yards and possess the ball for more than 40 minutes.
The Cats duplicated last week’s effort for the most part and went out and ran for even more yards (401) while keeping the ball for almost as long (38:39).
Kentucky’s opening defensive possession started off well with the Cats quickly forcing a Vandy three and out. They kicked a field goal on their first offensive possession for a 3-0 lead.
Vanderbilt had been in a funk offensively, but you wouldn’t have known it from their second possession.
A.J. Rose fumble was returned for a touchdown and the Commodores had scored on both sides of the ball and Kentucky was staring at a 14-3 deficit right off the bat.
The Cats weren’t fazed and quickly seized the momentum and controlled the game for good the rest of the afternoon. They overwhelmed Vanderbilt with heavy doses of Lynn Bowden, Chris Rodriguez and Kovosiey Smoke on the ground. They ran for 110, 129 and 95 yards respectively.
One more carry for Smoke would have likely put him over the century mark too.
As run heavy as Kentucky has been over the last few weeks it’s worth noting that Bowden did attempt 10 passes and completed eight of them. Sawyer Smith and Walker Wood saw action and completed passes too, which was good to see. Seven different receivers caught passes.
Xavier Peters, the linebacker who transferred from Florida State, also saw his first snaps. Mark Stoops had stated a few weeks ago that he had to work on some details off of the field in order to earn some playing time on the field. It’s good to see that he’s dong so.
SEC play has concluded. It’s now a two game season with Kentucky hosting UT-Martin and then Louisville in the finale. With last weekends win, Kentucky’s bowl hopes are still alive. The Wildcats need a home win over Tennessee-Martin or Louisville in their last two games to become bowl eligible for the fourth straight season.