2011 Prediction & Game Story
Week 11 - Kentucky at Vanderbilt
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Nov. 12 at Vanderbilt 38 … Kentucky 8
CFN Analysis: Zac Stacy ran for 135 yards and three touchdowns, and Jordan Rodgers threw for an effective 207 yards and two scores, but the defense owned this game, not allowing the Wildcats to convert a third down conversion. … The defensive front destroyed the Kentucky offensive line, checking in with four sacks. The Wildcat offense never got a chance to work and didn’t show any running game. … The Commodores are playing more than well enough to win one of its final two games against Tennessee or Wake Forest to go bowling as long as the offensive balance is there. Rodgers is taking the focus off Stacy, who rumbled at will in the big blowout. However, Vandy is 0-3 on the road this year.
Just when it seemed like Kentucky was about to turn a corner with three straight decent games and two wins, the offensive line broke down and it was blowout time. The offense was a mess because it didn’t have time to work. … La’Rod King came up with a 48-yard catch, and that was about it for any of the fireworks for an attack that went 0-for-12 in third downs. The ten penalties for 105 yards didn’t exactly help. … The defense isn’t blameless, having major problems holding up against the Commodore running game. There were several plays made behind the line, but there weren’t enough. … As bad as things looked against Vandy, can the Cats find something special and shock Georgia to shake up the SEC East? No. The offense that’s averaging just 274 yards per game is going to get stuffed cold by the surging Dawg D.
(AP) NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Vanderbilt Commodores now must find out if they can win away from home if they want to go to their first bowl since 2008 and second since 1982.
Zac Stacy ran for 135 yards and three touchdowns, and Jordan Rodgers threw for 207 yards and two TDs as Vanderbilt routed Kentucky 38-8 Saturday in snapping a two-game skid.
The Commodores (5-5, 2-5 Southeastern Conference) improved to 5-2 at home under first-year coach James Franklin. They finish the season at Tennessee and at Wake Forest.
Kentucky (4-6, 1-5) had won two straight and eight of the last 10 in this series. The Wildcats, with freshman Maxwell Smith making his first road start, never threatened in this game and now must win both at Georgia (No. 15 BCS, No. 14 AP) and in their home finale against Tennessee to extend their school-record streak to a sixth straight bowl game.
The Commodores sacked Smith four times and forced a turnover. They did it with their biggest win over Kentucky since a 42-6 win in 1969 and matched their largest margin of victory in an SEC game since 1971 when they beat Mississippi State 49-19.
Vanderbilt dominated almost from the opening kick in jumping out to a 24-0 lead at halftime that could have been much bigger if not for its own mistakes.
A personal foul on center Logan Stewart pushed the Commodores back after getting to the Kentucky 26. Randall Burden also picked off a Rodgers' pass at the goal line to end another Vanderbilt drive. After Archibald Barnes knocked the ball away from Mychal Bailey on a kickoff return and Steven Clarke recovered, the Commodores couldn't add more points when Rodgers scrambled to the Kentucky 3 staying inbound despite having no timeouts.
The clock ran out before Vandy could spike the ball, and the Wildcats sprinted to the locker room.
But the Commodores outgained Kentucky 278-41 in total offense in the first half and 410-211 overall.
Udom Umoh tackled Ryan Tydlacka after the Kentucky punter had to reach and grab a low snap, and Stacy scored on the next play from 3 yards out for a 7-0 lead in the first quarter. Vanderbilt scored 21 points in the second quarter as Rodgers tossed a 14-yard TD pass to Chris Boyd to start the scoring, which the quarterback celebrated by putting on the championship belt mimicking his older brother, Aaron of the NFL's Packers.
Stacy capped a 59-yard drive with an 8-yard TD run, and Ryan Fowler made it 24-0 with a 32-yard field goal. Stacy added an 18-yard TD run with 6:45 left when he moved a pile of players with him into the end zone for nearly half that.
Vanderbilt padded the lead in the third when Rodgers tossed the ball to Jordan Matthews on a screen, and the receiver broke a tackle by Burden and ran up the right sideline for a 49-yard TD with 4:05 left in the quarter. Burden was flagged on consecutive plays on the drive for pass interference.
Kentucky avoided being shut out by Vandy for the first time since 1968 when Smith drove the Wildcats 79 yards and found Nick Melillo on a 22-yard TD with 1:41 left in the third. Smith then connected with Matt Roark for the 2-point conversion. The Wildcats outgained Vandy 158-49 in the quarter but managed only the one scoring drive.
Kentucky (4-5) at Vanderbilt (4-5) Nov. 12, 12:21, SEC/ESPN3
Here’s The Deal … The SEC East might stink and Kentucky and Vanderbilt are always Kentucky and Vanderbilt, but all of a sudden, there’s a reason for both teams to hope for big things with a win. Tennessee is on the bottom of the East with an 0-5 start – that’s what happens when you play LSU and Alabama – and the winner of this game will be one step closer to a bowl game and could be fourth in the East when all is said and done.
The Commodores lost their last two games, but they pushed Arkansas and gave Florida a tussle, losing the two games by a combined eight points. But losses are losses, and Vandy has lost five of their last six games with road trips against Tennessee and Wake Forest up next. The team is playing well enough to win out, but there are still enough problems and enough holes to lose the last three games, too.
Kentucky has won two of its last three, and while one of the wins came against Jacksonville State, the other was at home to a lifeless Ole Miss in a 30-13 thumping. For a team and a program that needed something positive to work off of, the last two wins, along with the good effort in a loss to Mississippi State, shows that things are starting to turn around for a very, very young team that should be far better last year. With wins in six of the last seven games in the series, the Wildcats have managed to use this game as one of the key parts to several bowl campaigns, and it has to be business as usual this season, too.
Why Kentucky Might Win: The passing game has started to click a bit over the last few weeks. It’s all relative for an offense that threw for 17 yards against South Carolina and 66 against LSU, but the offense needed a spark and it might have found one with true freshman Maxwell Smith throwing for 283 yards and two scores against Ole Miss and 174 yards against Mississippi State. After giving away ten interceptions in the first six games, the offense has been stingy over the last three weeks with no picks. Against an ultra-aggressive Vanderbilt secondary that needs to take the ball away, UK needs to keep the mistakes to a minimum.
Vanderbilt, for all the good things it’s been doing offensively, the turnovers have been a problem with nine touchdown passes on the year and 12 picks, to go along with eight fumbles. Last week, Vandy didn’t turn the ball over, but it found other ways to screw things up with 12 penalties for 106 yards. Vandy doesn’t have to pitch a perfect game, but UK will get its chances to capitalize on mistakes.
Why Vanderbilt Might Win: Kentucky’s passing game might be better, but Vanderbilt’s passing attack has suddenly become night-and-day better. Jordan Rodgers has led the way to 240 yards through the air against Arkansas and 297 and two scores against Florida, and while Kentucky’s pass defense is technically strong, ranking 28th in the nation, it hasn’t faced anyone who can throw. Rodgers should be able to push the ball deep on the Wildcat corners, and the Vandy line should give him time to work.
The Wildcats might be doing more offensively, but they’re still not scoring. Outside of a 20-point fourth quarter run against Ole Miss last week, if the UK offense isn’t getting good field position, it’s not moving the ball and it’s not putting up big numbers. The O is last in the SEC in yards, passing, and pass efficiency, and it all starts with a line that ranks last in the SEC in sacks allowed.
What To Watch Out For: The Kentucky offense needs as many playmakers and gamebreakers as it can find, and junior La’Rod King showed lately that he could be a bigger part of the passing game. He only has 34 catches on the year, but he has seven touchdown catches with two against Jacksonville State and a 55-yarder against Ole Miss on a three-catch, 101-yard, one score day.
Vanderbilt linebacker Chris Marve only made four tackles against UK last year, but he was a man two years ago with 13 stops. Throw in the five in his freshman year, and he’s seen plenty of action against the blue. He hasn’t quite been his normal big-tackling self this year, with a pedestrian 65 stops and just one sack, and he has just one double-digit tackling day since the season opener against Elon. He’s due to start making more big plays in the backfield.
What Will Happen: This should be an entertaining game between two teams at the same talent and skill level. Vanderbilt has more offensive pop and a better overall defense, and while the home field advantage won’t mean too much, the team won’t blow it on Senior Day.
CFN Prediction: Vanderbilt 31 … Kentucky 20
Click For Latest Line From ATS: Vanderbilt -13 O/U: 44
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