Kentucky battles to a 14-7 win over Vandy
Fourtheenth ranked Kentucky (6-1) defeated a hard fighting Vanderbilt team last night in windy Kroger Field by the score of 14-7. With wind gusts of up to 40 mph nullifying any chance of a competent passing game the Cats went to their strength and handed off to Benny Snell 32 times for 169 yards. The fourth quarter alone saw Snell carry the ball on 15 out of 17 plays including the game winning touchdown. Wilson completed just 3 passes, all to Lynn Bowden Jr, for 18 yards. This Kentucky football continues to prove that they are different from the outfits of years gone by.
Kentucky was always a team that sought an identity. The preferred identity by the fans was to have a gun slinging QB throw for 345 yards and 4 TDs and to have a just good enough defense to hang on. The Hal Mumme years were the personification of this and then Commonwealth Stadium was normally packed and rowdy. Mark Stoops is not that type of coach though. He is a nose to the grindstone, brick by brick, and whatever other cliché you can throw out there for hardworking and gritty. He now has a program that fits his image. As a result, fans are finding out that winning is the most exciting thing of all.
Last night’s contest could not be considered a master piece by any means for the offense. The first two possessions ended in fumbles with the first one setting up Vanderbilt’s (3-5) loan touchdown. After a 7-yard TD pass on Kentucky’s ensuing possession the teams settled into a slugfest. This is a season that Kentucky is well equipped for that type of game. The Kentucky defense, led by Josh Allen and a stingy secondary, time and time again held Vanderbilt in check. The stop of the game came at the beginning of the 4th quarter when a 4th and 1 in scoring position became a forced fumble/recovery for the Wildcats. From there the game became the Benny Snell show and the Cats would go on to win 14-7.
What’s Behind: The Cats have some big time wins in their rear-view mirrors. The win at Florida, the domination of Mississippi State, and continued handling of South Carolina. These are the victories that earn you the opportunity for national prominence. The only negative was the offensive play calling versus Texas A&M when Kentucky asked their rattled QB to make plays instead of their Heisman contending running back. A dream year still is there for the taking.
What’s Now: This Kentucky defense is LEGIT. They are fast, strong, and nasty. Josh Allen, Kash Daniel, and a lockdown secondary have led a defense that has become one of the stingiest in the nation. If the opponent gets over 20 points against Kentucky they have accomplished something. In the day and age of video game offensive numbers Kentucky is bringing the pain old school style.
What’s Ahead: This sets up a big-time matchup in Columbia, MO next week against the high-flying Missouri Tiger’s offense against the Kentucky defense. The unstoppable force versus the immovable object. The Cats lead the nation in scoring defense and the Tigers can put up an obscene amount of points very quickly (65 against Memphis). If Kentucky wins that one…then we have a lot to talk about the next week as the Georgia Bulldogs come to town.