Holds on to beat Vanderbilt 38-35
Kentucky Football Postgame Notes
Kentucky vs. Vanderbilt
Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020
Kroger Field – Lexington, Ky.
FINAL SCORE: Kentucky 38, Vanderbilt 35
Team Records and Series Information
- Kentucky is 3-4 and Vanderbilt is 0-6.
- Kentucky leads the series 47-42-4 and has won five in a row.
- It’s the longest win streak vs. VU since winning six in a row from 1976-81.
- UK has won four games in a row vs. VU in Lexington, longest home win streak vs. the Commodores since four in a row from 1984-90.
- Next for Kentucky: the Wildcats play at Alabama on Saturday at 4 p.m. EST (3 p.m. CST in Tuscaloosa) and it will be televised on the SEC Network.
- Note that the SEC can change each week’s schedule until Monday at 9 p.m.
· The team honored assistant coach John Schlarman, who died Thursday, by wearing a black sticker on their helmets with the initials “JS” in white letters.
- Senior offensive tackle Landon Young wore jersey number 65, Schlarman’s number at UK.
- On the first offensive play, UK took a delay of game penalty, graciously declined by Vanderbilt, as Young took the field wearing Schlarman’s jersey.
· Coach Mark Stoops posted his 47th win today, tying Fran Curci for second place in UK history.
· This was Coach Stoops’ 34th home win, breaking the school record of 33 by Paul “Bear” Bryant.
· This was Coach Stoops’ 23rd SEC win, moving into sole possession of second place in UK history. Curci has the mark with 25 league wins.
· Since 2016, UK is 14-7 in games decided by seven points or fewer.
· Kentucky scored on its first five offensive possessions, extending into the third quarter.
· Kentucky had 458 yards of total offense, averaging 8.3 per offensive play.
- That’s the highest average vs. an SEC opponent since averaging 8.7 yards per play vs. Vanderbilt in 2010.
- Kentucky had 308 rushing yards today, averaging 8.8 per attempt, and did not lose yardage on any rushing play.
- Kentucky has had a 100-yard rusher vs. Vanderbilt for four straight seasons, first time that has happened since 1981-84.
- UK had three players (Jamin Davis, Marquez Bembry and Yusuf Corker) with at least 10 tackles, first time vs. a Football Bowl Series opponent since 2014 at LSU.
- UK scored 38 points against Vanderbilt in both 2019 and ’20, first time to tally that many in consecutive seasons vs. an SEC opponent since against VU in 2005 and ’06.
· UK’s game captain was senior offensive tackle Landon Young. See note above for more on Young.
· Senior quarterback Terry Wilson completed 13 of 15 passes for 110 yards and two touchdowns.
- He completed 86.7 percent, second-best single game completion percentage in school history (min. 10 completions).
- He also rushed seven times for 83 yards, including a 32-yard TD run and a 27-yard scramble on 3rd-and-26 late in the first half that set up a field goal.
- This was the third game of his career with at least two passing TDs and one rushing TD.
- UK scored on six (five TDs, one field goal) of the seven possessions he played.
- On the seven possessions he played, UK averaged 9.1 yards per play.
- Now has 925 career rushing yards, most for any UK quarterback with at least 1,700 career passing yards.
· Sophomore running back Chris Rodriguez Jr. rushed 13 times for a career-high 149 yards and a career-high-tying two touchdowns.
- TDs included a three-yard run in the third quarter and a career-long 74-yard jaunt in the fourth quarter. The 74-yarder is longest by a UK player vs. Vanderbilt since Derrick Locke’s 83-yarder in 2010.
- He averaged 11.5 yards per attempt, best for a UK rusher against an SEC opponent (min. 10 carries) since Randall Cobb averaged 17 yards (10 for 170) vs. Vanderbilt in 2010.
- It is his third 100-yard game of the season and fifth of his career.
- He has two 100-yard games vs. Vanderbilt, also 129 yards last season.
- Now has 1,138 career rushing yards, the 39th player in school history to reach 1,000 career yards.
- He wore uniform number 22 today in honor of teammate Chris Oats, who is dealing with a serious medical condition.
· True freshman quarterback Beau Allen saw his first varsity action. He completed 3 of 5 passes for 40 yards.
· Senior running back A.J. Rose gained 49 yards on only seven carries, averaging 7.0 yards per attempt.
- Rose now has 1,596 career rushing yards, needs 13 to tie Steve Campassi for 18th place in school history.
· Redshirt freshman wide receiver DeMarcus Harris tied his career high with four catches and had a career-best 33 yards.
· Senior wide receiver Josh Ali caught three passes for 15 yards.
- He also returned two punts for 38 yards, including a career-long 39-yard return in the third quarter that set up a short touchdown drive.
· Senior tight end Justin Rigg caught a 15-yard touchdown pass on UK’s first offensive possession, his first career TD reception. (It is his second career TD after a fumble recovery for a score last season.)
· Sophomore tight end Keaton Upshaw had a 21-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter, his second of the season and third of his career.
· Playing his first game since 2018, junior wide receiver Isaiah Epps caught one pass for eight yards.
· Junior linebacker Jamin Davis had a career-high 15 tackles, his fifth consecutive game with double-figure stops.
- He also had a one-yard tackle for loss. It is his second-straight game to set a career best, as he had 13 stops vs. Georgia.
- The last Wildcat with five-consecutive double-figure tackle games was Danny Trevathan, who had nine straight in 2010.
· Making his first collegiate start, junior linebacker Marquez Bembry had a career-high 10 tackles.
· Junior safety Yusuf Corker had 10 tackles, the third double-figure game of his career.
· Senior linebacker Boogie Watson had two tackles and shared a quarterback sack with Josh Paschal.
- Watson has 17 career sacks, nearing Jeremy Jarmon’s 17.5 sacks for fifth place in school history.
· Sophomore Chance Poore saw his first action this season as a placekicker. He enjoyed a perfect day, making a 28-yard field goal on the final play of the first half, along with all five extra points.
· Seeing his first collegiate action, senior punter Colin Goodfellow did a fine job, punting three times for a 46.3-yard average, and there were no return yards.
· First-time starters were junior offensive guard Austin Dotson and junior linebacker Marquez Bembry.
Vanderbilt Football Postgame Notes
- Henry-Brooks’ 29 rushing attempts and 121 yards were career highs.
- Vandy’s 10 third-down conversions marked the first time since Nov. 11, 2017, against Kentucky that the Commodores totaled at least 10 conversions.
- Wright became the first Vanderbilt quarterback to rush for a touchdown since Kyle Shurmur did so Nov. 11, 2017, against Kentucky.
- Pierce is the first Vandy receiver to make a touchdown catch in three straight games since Kalija Lipscomb did so during the final game of 2017 and the first two contests is 2018.
- Vanderbilt dressed 58 scholarship players during Saturday’s contest.
- Kentucky now leads the all-time series 47-42-4 and has won five in a row against the Commodores.
- Vandy last won at Kentucky in 2012.
- Attendance on Saturday was announced as 12,000.
Kentucky Football Postgame Quotes
Kentucky vs. Vanderbilt
Kroger Field – Lexington, Ky.
Nov. 14, 2020
UK Head Coach Mark Stoops
MARK STOOPS: Thank you, Tony. You know, obviously it was extremely important for us to come away with a victory today. As it's been well documented all week, it was extremely important for to us play well for LeAnne, coach John Schlarman, his family, his kids, and was really proud of the team to get this victory.
Wasn't easy. It was an emotional week. It's very different times for everybody, and then we've been hit with a few curve balls this year. Certainly very discouraging news this week with the passing of Jon. There was no getting around it that that was important to me and it was important to our team to win for them and to honor Jon and the man that he was, to continue his legacy.
I felt like our team came out and we played very good football. Vandy has been much more efficient moving the ball offensively, and they did a good job certainly late I felt like.
With playing in this league in the competitive games that we're in, when we were up I believe it was 17, I felt like it is really important forget Beau in the game. Instead of going to our normal ground and pound, and we felt like we probably could have done that obviously to play -- you know, the series before we ripped off a big run and were getting physical and starting to run.
I felt like it was important for our program, important to give Beau some reps and throw the ball around a little bit. We're not in that opportunity too many times. Certainly I didn't want to get it that close and probably would've been crucified had they got that on-side kick and come back.
Again, I want to continue to push the program forward, so I did feel like the game was in control. I would've liked for our backups on defense to play a little better late in that game. And for us to have to go back and put some starters back in and try to preserve the victory, wasn't real pleased with the end in particular defensively.
But, again, felt like it was important just to get guys snaps and throw the football and not just go in to kill the clock and ground and pound. If we would've done that, I felt like obviously we could have probably cut into that -- the way they come back there at the end, could have killed some more clock. So part of that is on me.
Again, in the long run, getting the victory and getting Beau some snaps and getting Joey some snaps, it was important.
Q. Can you just walk us through the tribute on the opening play, how you all came up with that, and just kind of how that developed.
MARK STOOPS: Yeah, I'm really not sure. Mitch is in here and Mark Hill and Dan, the guys just came up with it and mentioned it to me early in the week or throughout this week, and I thought it was a great idea.
The O-line have been trading off 65, and Landon was wearing it today. Somebody in the staff here came up with the idea, and of course we all thought it was a great idea.
You know, I have great respect for Derek Mason and should have said that in my opening statement, the respect I have for him and the way he coaches as well. But he immediately said, Coach, I'll decline that. He didn't have to.
But I also want to compliment him on his team. He had quite a few opt outs. He's got guys hurt, down very low. It would be very easy for them to say they're under the threshold and not play, and they continue to coach very well and scrap and play.
You have to compliment Derek for that and his staff, because that team plays hard, and we knew they would.
Anyway, getting back to the question, I thought it was good idea by somebody in our staff. I'm not sure who gets credit for that. I was on board with it right away, and it was great to honor him that way.
Q. Kind of following up with that, what was your message to the team going out before the game in such an unusual situation like this? What did you share with them?
MARK STOOPS: Yeah, it was different. You know, certainly there was a lot of conversation that I would like to keep in the locker room. A lot of that is personal. The bottom line is to honor Jon by playing the way he coached, lived his life, and we constantly talked about the tenacity that he had, the toughness that he had, but also when he was a player he was extremely technical and very detailed.
And so we knew we would be emotional, but I also really wanted to execute and really felt like offensively we really played pretty sharp and had 460 yards on only 55 plays.
So we're very explosive and efficient offensively. Had we played a little better defensively I really thought we could have done -- kept on getting some points on there and would've been a much greater margin for the victory.
But really that was a big part of it for Jon, just to honor him. Wanted to make sure that LeAnne and their kids had a game ball with a W on it; didn't want to give them a game ball with a loss, and it's important for us to bring that to them and do that for them.
Q. Terry was very efficient today, especially hitting those touchdowns across the middle to the tight ends -- one of them was across the middle; one of them was maybe in the corner. But those guys, just how important was it to get those guys involved and Terry comfortable going back out there after being off a few weeks?
MARK STOOPS: I thought it was very important just in general offensively. I felt like we were very efficient today throwing the ball and I felt like we could have been even more efficient. Again, I put that on the defense. I feel like if we didn't let them possession the ball the entire second half we could have got a lot more opportunities and kept on throwing it around a little bit and were very efficient in keeping people off balance, and we're going to need that moving forward.
Q. Talking about the defense, I know you won't know for sure until you look at video, but anything in particular stick out to you there?
MARK STOOPS: It just seemed like to me that it was one of those games where they want everybody else to make the play, not them. That's just how I felt. I don't know. We'll see. I'm sure there are some guys that played very hard, but to me we were just out there oozing, just lining up, expecting somebody to make a call, stop somebody instead of making plays and trying to stop people. It was evident. We made very few competitive plays.
Q. 308 rushing yards, no sacks allowed. I'm sure Chris was even touched on that 74-yard touchdown. What does that say about the offensive line today?
MARK STOOPS: Yeah, and being down Luke and Kenneth as well. You know, so we had backups stepping in and really playing well. I know it was important to those guys to play well. There was no doubt in my mind. It was important to all of us, but certainly that group it's personal. They wanted to honor Jon and play a very tough, physical game like the way Coach Schlarman lived, and they did that.
Q. You had both your punter and kicker out, and yet Chance comes in and he's perfect, and Colin did a great job. When did they know they were getting the start, and talk about their performance today.
MARK STOOPS: Yeah, we knew for a couple days, and I was very proud of those guys the way they stepped in and really did a good job in the kicking game. Chance was really solid. We did a great job in the punt game as well, so it was good.
Q. Almost looked like, at least to me watching Terry, that was like the 2018 Terry, making the decisions he did, showing the speed he did. Is that a fair observation or...
MARK STOOPS: I agree with you. I felt like this was the Terry that I expect him to play each and every week. Again, I think that has a lot to do with the people around him and the coaching and putting him in a position to be successful.
Yeah, I thought he played very well and he was very efficient. And let me say I'm proud of him and the way he responded, because that position is different. Let's just be honest, it is. There is so much scrutiny, pressure on that position, and you have to play well at that position to be successful.
And there is times when it all comes down on him and there is times it's deserving and there are times that it's not. But he didn't look for an opportunity to run and hide. He took that criticism, took the coaching, and he got better. I really respect the way he responded and the way he came back and play.
Now, we expect him to do that every week. That's the standard which we need him to play at and that is across the board.
Q. Are you at liberty to talk about the absences of Matt and Max, just a reason for their absences and other players?
MARK STOOPS: I mean, you could probably read between the lines. I can't comment on that.
Q. Just wanted to hear it --
MARK STOOPS: Tony cut you off. Not me.
Q. The SEC announced yesterday I think until -- moving forward until Monday you might not know who you're going to play on Saturdays for the rest of the season. What does that do for preparation and how do you approach the last three weeks?
MARK STOOPS: Well, there are things that we're going to do every week and that carry over. We do advance scouting on or opponents anyway and watch them and crossover on film, so we'll make it work. Whatever we have to do, we'll do it.
You know, that's the approach we have taken all year. I really respect our players and our staff, and they've done a really good job trying to stay as safe as they can.
Our team is responding and we'll show up. We'll be there next Saturday wherever they tell us to play.
Q. Is there anything in the next few days you and your team plan to do for LeAnne and the family and is there anything UK fans can do that you would encourage them to do?
MARK STOOPS: So, yes. LeAnne and the family have a service that will be private on Monday, and then there will be a memorial here in the afternoon, on Monday afternoon. I mean, it's not open to the public. For the team and for LeAnne and her family and alumni, Jon's friends. He knows so many people. Ex players, so many people that played and coached with Jon at all his different stops.
So you can imagine there is an awful lot of people that want to come pay their respects to LeAnne and Jon, and so we will do that on Monday.
I know LeAnne mentioned to me that Jon was very close to a lot you media as well, so I don't want -- I like to stay in my lane, you know that. But I also know that LeAnne personally had involved some media I believe as well. Maybe not to film and everything or anything like that, but just to pay your respects as well. Because I know many of you were close to Jon.
Q. Mark, you talked about that it wasn't just Terry, it was the players around Terry. I know you put a lot of emphasis or working on the passing game over the last two weeks. How do you think the receivers did today?
MARK STOOPS: I thought they did a good job. I felt like there was a lot more plays out there. I'm disappointed. We had only 55 plays again, but we did have 458 yards, which is great, very explosive. I wish we had more opportunities.
That comes back to defense getting off the field and giving us some more opportunities and letting those guys have a little bit of fun because they've worked extremely hard. I felt like they been working hard and I felt like we could have continued to be more efficient in throwing the ball, but there is also that fine line. Again, winning.
Again, that's why I did that with seven and a half minutes left or whatever it was. Normally we could go right into -- we're as good a four-minute offensive team as most because we're extremely efficient at running the ball and get creative in sets and can pound the ball and use up clock and get some first downs.
Again, I felt like for the growth of the program it was important to throw the ball around a little bit. Made it a little closer than I wanted to, that's for sure.
Q. A lot of people view Chris Rodriguez is an inside guy, a guy that gets the tough yards, makes something out of nothing a lot of times when the nothing is there. How pleasing was it to you to see him break out?
MARK STOOPS: I mean, doesn't surprise me. You know, we feel like he's a complete back. He gets very tough yards, but he also can be explosive, and so it was good for him to get some big plays.
Q. Mark, just talk about Chris' performance and just the way he's running right now. You know, just seems to be on a roll right now.
MARK STOOPS: Well, I'm just looking at his stats there and I guess I can't argue with you there. He had 11.5 yards per carry. That's pretty impressive. So I agree. Again, it's not surprising to us. We have great confidence in him. We have confidence in our other backs.
And, again, there was only 55 snaps there but we were very explosive. Again, darn near 460 for 55. I wish we could have got some more possessions. That comes down to getting some better stops defensively, certainly in the second half.
Let me just say I appreciate you. Thank you for reaching out during this difficult time to myself, LeAnne and the family. You guys have done a remarkable job of covering Jon and honoring him, and we appreciate it and I know LeAnne does. Just want to say thank you.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
#65/67, Landon Young, Sr., OT
On the emotional first play of the game …
“The emotions just going through my mind were we just lost a member of our family. More than a member of our family, but we lost our coach and someone who was basically a father figure for every offensive lineman that has come through this program. So, we are going to honor him any way we can. Just because of the impact and influence he had on all of our lives, one of the toughest and greatest men I’ve ever had the chance of meeting in my life. We left a spot out there because we are missing one of our Wildcats today. Another thing, just to be able to have the opportunity to wear his number (65) just shows how much bigger than football it is. It was a blessing for me and a blessing for him to allow us to do it before he passed away, and a blessing that his family still wanted us to do it and they were here to see it. You know I want to go out there to play my game and lead anyway, but to be able to do it for a little extra reason with that number on me.”
On whose idea it was to start the game with an intentional penalty …
“It was kind of a cumulative effort. I know that the coaches definitely wanted to take a penalty and take a moment of silence for Coach (John Schlarman), show that we were missing a Wildcat. We actually decided right before in the pregame to actually bump (offensive guard) Luke (Fortner) to tackle for the very first play so that Coach Schlarman was a guard when he played here, and I know he’s always a guard at heart, so we wanted to leave a spot open for him to show where he played and represent that number well.”
On the difficulty of the past 48 hours …
“It was definitely hard, and it doesn’t get any easier talking about it. But we wanted to make sure we did what he wanted us to do every single day, and I know he’s sitting up there watching us right now, and you know having the mentality and grit that he had he would not have wanted us to sit down and feel sorry for ourselves for one second. The man never did it himself, even though he was pumping drugs into his body, and for goodness’ sake came out to practice not just hours after he had just gotten his first surgery a couple weeks ago. So, the last thing he would want us to do is sit back and feel sorry for ourselves and miss a game or practice, or not do this or that. That’s just his mentality. He’s a tough man, and he loved his game of football, and at the end of the day, one of the last conversations I had with him, ‘Coach Schlarman, why do you do this after all these surgeries? Why do you bring all this effort and attitude?’ His simple answer was ‘For the team.’ You can’t have a much better answer then that. A guy that’s truly committed to the game of football and is truly committed to each and every soul on that field, and what is best for us is growing us as men and being able to further us as a football player and have the best opportunity we can out there.”
#22, Chris Rodriguez Jr., R-So., RB
On his 74-yard run …
“You know it felt good. I don’t treat any run different. I run inside, and I run outside, but I mean I prefer it inside.”
On the added emotion within the offensive line …
“I could tell in the meetings this week. You know Coach (Mark) Stoops had some words for us and showed us a video that we made. But you could see it in their faces that they were just really sad. But today, you saw in their faces that they wanted to come out and play and win for (Schlarman) today.”
On his memories of Coach Schlarman …
“Before I really started playing, Coach Schlarman would always encourage me to run people over with the ball, and I really liked that. But coming to practice, you could just see it in his face that he was hurting. Sometimes I go to practice and I don’t want to be here, but then you look at that man and what he’s going through, and every day he was there. He was just a strong human being who taught me a lot.”
#3, Terry Wilson, Sr., QB
On what the last three weeks have been like for him …
“It’s really just been trying to get back healthy. Like I said with my wrist, it’s kind of limited me. I couldn’t throw so I had to sit out a couple practices. But once that started to get better and get back in the groove of things, just looking at things we can improve in and things I can do better to be able to go out and win a football game and continue to win football games. Locking down on what we have to do and what I have to do, to help the team.”
On the play between him and running back Asim Rose …
“I threw it and I thought it was the perfect pass, but it came up short. I had to put some more on it, and it’s just something that I wish I could get back. But now I know the next time we call that play, let it (go) and let AJ get it. It’s one of those plays that you look at and you’re like ‘Ugh, you don’t want that happening.’ We just have to correct it.”
On his offensive line …
“Coach Schlarman would want those guys to go out there and do what they do. He wouldn’t want them to be pouting around and feeling sorry. That’s just the type of guy Coach Schlarman was, a tough dude and he wants his players to be tough. Our o-line went out there and executed and did what they were supposed to do. Those guys mean so much to me, seeing how much they work, and this week was tough for us. And seeing how they responded, those guys really give it their all each week, every game. So, we just have to keep working and get ready for next week.”
#44, Jamin Davis, Jr., ILB
On the defensive and offensive performance today …
“In general, it’s just something we have to clean up moving forward. It’s always easy to just point the fingers at offense or defense but as a team we just want to stay together and figure out what we got to do moving forward.”
On not having DeAndre Square as much in today’s game …
“Marquez (Bembry) did a good job of answering the call. It was a little different, but I just tried to make sure I focused enough on my game. And be ready for whatever I had to do, whether it was Mike or Will. There still is some things to clean up on film and moving forward just making sure we are exact with everything moving forward. And, just being ready to answer the call honestly.”
On the tough schedule ahead …
“We look at it like anyone else on the schedule. We don’t worry about anything. Like I said before we don’t pay attention to outside noise and what-not. We just prepare the same way we would prepare for anyone else and do what we got to do to come out the right way.”