Report Card: Vanderbilt vs. Kentucky

The game is over now: Kentucky 38, Vanderbilt 20. analyzes every element of the Commodores' performance and assigns a grade to each area.




An improvement for sure but still not good enough for the team to pickup a win. Larry Smith completed 10-of-26 passes for 128 yards, no touchdowns, and no interceptions. He had a second quarter 52-yard completion to Jonathan Krause that put the Commodores in position to take the lead off of a 4-yard Smith run. However, Smith badly missed several wide open receivers. He continues to watch his completion percentage fall below .500. He is one of the few experienced quarterbacks in college football that has a completion percentage under .500. Jared Funk, who never played a down of college ball before this season, completed 7-of-11 passes for 70 yards and a touchdown. However, Funk was sacked hard and fumbled on Vanderbilt's last possession.
Kennard Reeves had played sparingly prior to Saturday's game and made the most of his appearance. The fifth year senior finished with an impressive 105 yards on 19 carries. Reeves was also an effective blocker. Eric Samuels, who has had very limited practice with the offense, had three carries for 17 yards. Larry Smith and Jared Funk ran for a combined 30 yards and Jonathan Krause had another electrifying end around run, this time for 45 yards.
Vanderbilt held Kentucky to about 40 yards under their average game passing yards (274 ypg) which isn't too terrible but the Commodores allowed a long, 55-yard pass from Mike Hartline to Chris Matthews that gave the Wildcats a 31-13 lead and seemingly ended Vanderbilt's chances of pulling off an upset. For the second straight week Vandy came up with no interceptions. The Commodores also failed to sack Harline during the game. A big sack or an interception might have swayed this game in Vandy's favor.
Vandy gave up a lofty 341 rushing yards to a team that averaged just 150 yards rushing per game prior to Saturday. Randall Cobb had just 10 carries but averaged 17 yards a carry. He and Derrick Locke had long runs in the second half to finish the 'Dores off. Senior linebacker John Stokes had 10 tackles and went down fighting. On fourth-and-goal Stokes safety Jay Fullam stuffed Wildcat runner Derrick Locke for no gain. Theron Kadri, T.J. Greenstone and Sean Richardson all had seven tackles.
After not attempting a field goal for several games, Ryan Fowler made 2-of-2 field goals from 20 and 29 yards. Richard Kent averaged 40 yards per punt, the longest going 51 yards. Andre Hal did well returning kickoffs and averaged 23 yards per return. Vanderbilt also did a decent job limiting the Wildcats return men. The longest return was a 34-yard kickoff return by Randall Cobb.
Great job getting the team ready after losing the top three running backs. Robbie Caldwell also did well at keeping the UK coaches guessing during the week as to whether or not the 'Dores would mostly pass or still have a running game. There is no reason to let the opposing coaches know anything about what the team is going to do.
It was certainly an improvement over the last two games. Now the team must focus on an improving Tennessee squad that has scored over 100 combined points in the past two games. Vandy keeps putting together a solid quarter or two here and there. For once they need to put together four solid quarters of football in order to keep the Vols at home for the holidays.

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