Three Keys Revisited: Vanderbilt at Kentucky

This is why Vanderbilt hired James Franklin. Everything the coach has instilled into the program came to fruition on Saturday as the Commodores dominated Kentucky in every phase while routing the Wildcats 40-0. The win was the first VU SEC shut out in 44 years and the 'Dores can now move on to greater challenges. Here is a look at how our three keys played out during the game.

This is why Vanderbilt hired James Franklin. Everything the coach has instilled into the program came to fruition on Saturday as the Commodores dominated Kentucky in every phase while routing the Wildcats 40-0. The win was the first SEC shut out in 44 years for Vandy and the 'Dores can now move on to greater challenges as the season comes to a close. Here is a look at how our three keys played out during the game.

1) Put a body on Avery Williamson

Vanderbilt was able to pretty much move the ball at will on the Wildcats defense despite yet another outstanding game from Avery Williamson. Williamson had 11 solo tackles to go with nine assists and he was even able to force a third quarter fumble. Unfortunately for Williamson the score was already 34-0 Commodores by the time he was able to strip the ball from Jordan Rodgers, so the impact of the play was relatively minor.

Despite the huge statistical game for Williamson, Vanderbilt was able to run the ball at will on Kentucky. The running back corps combined for 227 yards on 50 carries and three different backs were able to get into the end zone. The Vandy offensive line has improved as a unit as much as any in the country as the season has gone on and on Saturday the interior linemen in particular did a stunning job of opening running lanes. Williamson was constantly harassed despite his numbers and the running game was a definite win for the 'Dores.

2) Pressure Jalen Whitlow into mistakes

It really didn't matter which of their young quarterbacks was in the game, Kentucky struggled to move the ball all game on Vanderbilt's defense. Jalen Whitlow and Patrick Towles combined on a 13-of-35 for 159 yard performance which never got the Wildcats in position to strike. Kentucky only reached the red zone once (on an interception return) but the Vandy defense stepped up and forced a turnover on downs. If the defense plays this well for the rest of the season the Commodores will win out.

3) Get Chris Boyd and Jordan Matthews more involved

Vanderbilt did open up the passing game more than in recent weeks against the Wildcats. Boyd and Matthews combined for 11 receptions and a very solid 156 yards. In addition each was able to score a touchdown as Jordan Rodgers was looking for his two major play-makers every time he dropped back to throw. Though neither had a true break out game, it is important for Franklin to keep both involved because you never know when the Commodores are going to come up against team who can shut down the run.


Vanderbilt Commodores tight end Kris Kentera (82) runs the ball against Kentucky Wildcats cornerback Cody Quinn (16) at Commonwealth Stadium. (Mark Zerof-US PRESSWIRE)

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