Win Caps An Emotional Week
It’s been a tough couple of weeks for Mark Stoops and the Kentucky football team. Coming off their bye week after two straight losses, the team needed a win over Vanderbilt to right the ship. As if that wasn’t enough the team played on Saturday with the emotion of losing a member of their coaching staff. They responded by jumping out to a big lead then held on late as Kentucky beats Vanderbilt 38-35.
Honoring Coach Schlarman
The Cats hit the field only two days after losing John Schlarman. On Thursday the beloved offensive line coach died after two year battle with cancer. On their first offensive play the Cats came out in a missing man formation with an open space at left guard, the position Schlarman played. After taking a delay of game penalty senior Landon Young, who wore his coaches 65 came out on the field.
We took a delay of game penalty to begin the game in loving memory of @CoachSchlarman 💙
— Kentucky Football (@UKFootball) November 14, 2020
From there the Cats drove 75 yards in nine plays to go up 7-0. Schlarman’s group made him proud as they didn’t allow a sack as the Cats ran for 308 yards and had 458 yards total.
The Offense Looked Good
Over the last four games the Kentucky offense hadn’t cracked 300 yards of total offense. In addition they’ve been under 200 twice, the only school in the SEC to hold that dubious distinction. However on Saturday Eddie Gran’s group looked much sharper, perhaps the bye week really helped them. Heading the offense was quarterback Terry Wilson. After missing the Georgia game with a wrist injury the senior played one of his best games completing 13 of 15 passes for 110 yards and two touchdowns. In addition he had 83 yards on the ground and another score and hit 10 different receivers. Overall Kentucky scored on six of their first seven possessions with five touchdowns and a field goal.
Another Cat with a huge day was Christopher Rodriguez, who had 149 yards rushing and two touchdowns. His performance put him over 1,000 yards for his career and remember he’s only a sophomore. A 74 yard run by Rodriguez gave the Cats up 38-21 with nine minutes to play and it gave Stoops a chance to see highly touted freshman quarterback Beau Allen. However, the Cats let off the gas and it nearly cost them.
A Struggle For The Defense
As well as the offense played it was the opposite of Brad White’s defense. Led by freshman quarterback Ken Seals, the Commodore offense lit the Cats up for 407 yards and 29 first downs. On the game Seals completed 21-32 passes for 225 yards and two touchdowns while running back Keyon Henry-Brooks ran for 121 yards before leaving with an injury. More importantly, they had no turnovers, something we said was key for a victory.
A lot of the credit goes to Seals, who’s going to be a good one in Nashville. However much like on offense when Kentucky got up by 17 Stoops put in many of the younger players allowing Vandy the chance for a comeback. A two-yard run by Mitchell Pryor cut the lead to 10. On the ensuing drive the Cats went three and out. Seals took the Commodores 78 yards in 59 seconds hitting Cam Johnson with a seven-yard pass cutting it to three with 30 seconds left. Thankfully for the Big Blue Nation Kentucky got the onside kick or things would really get interesting. In the end, the defense struggled but Kentucky beats Vanderbilt 38-35.
With the win, Kentucky moves to 3-4 on the season and notches their fifth straight win over Vanderbilt. As a result, we’ll see if they move up in our newest bowl projections. Currently, Last Word has the Cats playing Iowa in the Music City Bowl. Up next they are scheduled to play Alabama in Tuscaloosa next Saturday. We say “scheduled” for a couple of reasons. First, as we all know COVID-19 plays a big part in determining the schedule. Second, there have been rumors over the last week the SEC schedule may be tweaked and Kentucky could play someone else. Stoops even alluded to it in his press conference that they might not know until Monday.
On the other side of the ball, the Commodores fall to 0-6 on the season. Their schedule doesn’t get any easier as they host the Florida Gators next Saturday. After that, they have their intrastate matchup against Tennessee.
Again Kentucky beats Vanderbilt 38-35 in an emotional day at Kroger Field.
— Kentucky Football (@UKFootball) November 15, 2020
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