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Kentucky Defeats Vanderbilt 34-17

Cats Get Much Needed Win

It’s been over a month, October 9th to be exact since the Kentucky Football team won a game. Following three straight losses turns out a “road” trip to Nashville proved just what the team needed. It was certainly a tale of two halves but in the end, the Cats held on. Let’s recap it as Kentucky defeats Vanderbilt 34-17.

A Really Great Start

As expected huge numbers of Kentucky fans traveled down Interstate 65 and invaded Nashville. Certainly, a lot more than the home-standing Commodores.

Mark Stoops’ club certainly gave them a lot to cheer about as they scored on their first two offensive possessions. First it was a six yard pass from Will Levis to Wan’Dale Robinson for a score. That was followed by another Levis TD pass, this time a 22 yarder to Izayah Cummings. Things got even better after Jalen Geiger, who was making his first career start took a Ken Seals pass back for a score.

Chris Rodriguez touchdown and a Matt Ruffolo field goal gave the Cats a 31-3 lead at the half. In fact, it was the largest halftime lead ever for Stoops in an SEC game while at Kentucky. The previous was 27-3 in last year’s South Carolina game. While things were looking good, everyone in the Big Blue Nation knows you can’t take any lead for granted.

Totally Different Second Half

If you read our game preview we told you it was up in the air who started as Vandy’s quarterback Seals or Mike Wright. Playing his first game back after missing three games with a finger injury Seals was largely ineffective. As a result trailing 31-3 coach Clark Lea went with Wright and it paid instant dividends. The sophomore came in and immediately led Vandy to two scoring drives cutting the lead to 34-17.

The Kentucky offense that had been so dominant in the first half did very little in the second. One bright spot was running back Juthan McClain who played a lot of the second half gaining 68 yards on nine carries.

Wright had the Commodores driving again but the Cats finally got a stop on fourth down and that was your ball game as Kentucky defeats Vanderbilt 34-17.

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Looking Ahead

With the win, Kentucky goes to 7-3 on the season and finishes 5-3 in league play. That number is important because it’s only the sixth time since 1950 the Cats finished with a winning conference record. The other years were 1953, 1954, 1976, 1977, and 2018. In addition, they improve their chances at a New Year’s Day bowl. Currently, Last Word has them playing Michigan in the Citrus Bowl. Furthermore, they get their sixth straight win against Vandy. That ties UK’s longest consecutive win streak against an SEC opponent. From 1976-1981 they also the Commodores six straight times.

UK’s ends the year with two non-conference games. They host a New Mexico State squad that lost 59-3 to Alabama on Saturday next week in Lexington. Following that it’s the annual game against Louisville which resumes after a year off due to the SEC playing an all-league schedule in 2020.

As for the Commodores, they drop to 2-8 on the year and 0-6 in the SEC. They’ve got two tough road contests to end the season and they go to Ole Miss next week and Tennessee to finish out the season.

Kentucky defeats Vanderbilt 34-17 in a game that was great in the first half and pretty forgettable in the second. If we’re being honest that could be said for a lot of UK-Vandy contests throughout the years.

At the end of the day while some in the Big Blue Nation are disappointed in a 7-3 record and “what could have been” 2021 still goes down as one of the best in Kentucky football history.

Thanks for checking out our recap here at Last Word On College Football. We’ll be back on Tuesday with our updated bowl projections and later in the week a New Mexico State preview.


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