Report Card: Vanderbilt vs. Kentucky

In Vanderbilt's most lopsided conference win since 1971, the Commodores blasted Kentucky, 38-8. analyzes every element of the Commodores' performance and assigns a grade to each area.




Jordan Rodgers went 12 for 22 for 207 yards, 2 touchdowns and 1 pick. He had a long pass to Jordan Matthews for 49-yard score on a catch and run. Matthews finished the game with six receptions for 131 yards. Chris Boyd had three receptions for 37 yards. Austin Monahan had an impressive 23-yard catch during Vanderbilt's third drive but later in the same drive he threw the interception to Randall Burden at the UK one. Vanderbilt offensive line, playing with another juggled lineup due to injuries, was solid but gave up two sacks.
Zac Stacy continued to look like Walter Payton as he ran for 135 yards on 28 carries for three scores. None of Stacy's runs were for more than 20 yards which means he has turned into a workhorse of a back. Stacy's 18-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter was a thing of beauty. He virtually carried half the Wildcat defense into the end zone with him. Vandy's offensive line and wide receivers all worked hard to help get Stacy to the end zone.
Vandy's defensive line was able to put significant pressure on UK freshman quarterback Maxwell Smith who finished 15 for 31 for 179 yards while being sacked four times. Tim Fugger led the way with 1 1/2 sacks of Smith. Archibald Barnes had a full sack while Chris Marve, Walker May and T.J. Greenstone had partial sacks. Late in the third quarter Smith found Nick Melillo for a 22-yard scoring reception to avoid a shutout. Incredibly, Vandy's secondary still has only one interception since the 14 pick first four games.
Kentucky entered the game averaging 137 yards rushing per game. Vanderbilt's swarming defense held the Cats to just 32 yards rushing. It was Kentucky's lowest rushing output of the season. Even against No. 1 LSU's super defense the Cats had managed 89 rushing yards. Overall, it was just an outstanding performance by Bob Shoop's defense. Chris Marve finished with seven tackles to lead Vanderbilt. Safety Casey Hayward added six.
Vandy's Richard Kent had three punts for a 41-yard average with a long of 52 yards. Vanderbilt made a field goal! Ryan Fowler booted a 32-yarder that slit the uprights. Udom Umoh made perhaps the biggest special teams play of the game when he tackled UK punter Ryan Tydlacka at the three to setup the Commodores' first touchdown. Vanderbilt had no spectacular kick/punt returns but there were no breakdowns either by the VU coverage units.
James Franklin does what it takes to give his team a chance to win. In this game it was a balanced attack that produced solid results both passing and running. No trick plays needed. Shoop's defensive strategy held UK's offense to its lowest rushing output of the season. Great job getting the team focused after back-to-back heartbreaking losses to Arkansas and Florida.
It was a fun day at Vanderbilt Stadium against an old adversary that has cost the Commodores trips to several bowl games. Vandy has now likely returned the favor. Overall, it was a solid effort in every aspect of the game. The team must now quickly put its focus on a Saturday trip to Knoxville where the team has won just twice since 1974.

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