Nik's Commodore Keys- Kentucky

After yet another loss, the Vanderbilt Commodores (5-4, 3-3 SEC) travel to Lexington to take on the Wildcats of the University of Kentucky (6-4, 2-4 SEC). Vanderbilt is still looking for the elusive sixth win, and it is crunch time with only four games remaining. Vanderbilt needs to beat Kentucky on Saturday, and they will have to do so in some different ways.

Fast as lightning

New Kentucky quarterback Randall Cobb, a former wide receiver, will kill Vanderbilt on the ground if they let him.  He is a lightning fast runner, and only an adequate passer.  Vanderbilt must concentrate and not letting him beat them on the ground in this game.  If Vanderbilt will win this game, they must win by stopping a Kentucky offense that put up 38 points in a tough loss to the Georgia Bulldogs.  Cobb ran for 87 yards and three touchdowns against a tough Georgia defense that only allowed 14 points to Vanderbilt.  Vandy must force him to throw.  It was Cobb's interception late in the game that sealed Kentucky's fate against Georgia, and if Vanderbilt can pressure him and force him to take a sack, lose yards rushing, and throw the ball in a bad spot, Vanderbilt could have a great shot at taking down the Wildcats.  IF they do not do any of these things, it will be a long night for the Dores.

In the Nick of Time

Although it will be a game-time decision, Chris Nickson is likely going to make the start against Kentucky.  For Commodore fans, this will be a welcome sight.  Nickson, who is 12-12 as a starter in his Vanderbilt career, is 5-1 this season and seems to always find a way to make big plays.  However, he has also made more than his fair share of mistakes.  For a Vanderbilt offense that has not put up more than 14 points in any of the last five games, Nickson might be a sign of change for an offense on life support.  Adams is not getting the job done.  After a stellar backup performance against Auburn, he has not really done an excellent job quarterbacking the Dores, although he has been good at times.  Nickson needs to have a good game and bring some of his senior leadership to the team if they are to win these last few games and become the first Vanderbilt team to make it to a bowl since 1982.

Special Special Teams

After an excellent special teams performance in the first five games, Vanderbilt has lacked production out of their special teams in the last several games.  Bryant Hahnfeldt has not made a field goal since the Auburn game, Vandy has given up way too many long kickoff returns, and Vanderbilt has not had many good punt and kickoff returns by star returner D.J. Moore in the past couple weeks.  In a close game, like so many against Kentucky have been, special teams make the difference.  Last year, Vanderbilt lost 27-20, behind two missed field goals and a missed extra point.  Vanderbilt's special teams have shined this year, and they will need to polish them up quite a bit if they are going to beat Kentucky.


Last Meeting: Kentucky 27 Vanderbilt 20 (2007 in Nashville)

Last Meeting in Lexington: Kentucky 38 Vanderbilt 26 (2006)

Series Record: Kentucky leads 39-37-4.  Vanderbilt head coach Bobby Johnson is 1-4 against the Wildcats.

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