Kentucky Sports

Blue Review: Instant analysis from Kentucky's loss to Vanderbilt

Mississippi State defensive lineman Cory Thomas (34) intercepted the ball in the fourth quarter of the Kentucky at Mississippi State football game at Davis Wade Stadium in Starkville, Miss., on Oct. 24, 2015. Mississippi State beat Kentucky 42-16.   Photo by Pablo Alcala | Staff
Mississippi State defensive lineman Cory Thomas (34) intercepted the ball in the fourth quarter of the Kentucky at Mississippi State football game at Davis Wade Stadium in Starkville, Miss., on Oct. 24, 2015. Mississippi State beat Kentucky 42-16. Photo by Pablo Alcala | Staff Lexington Herald-Leader

Instant analysis from Kentucky's 21-17 loss to Vanderbilt:

HOW THE GAME WAS WON

Vanderbilt scored first-half touchdowns on a pick-six and a "hidden end" trick play and capitalized on a 1st-and-goal from the UK 4 after a Boom Williams fumble to take a 21-10 halftime lead that proved insurmountable.

WHO'S UP

1. Vanderbilt red-zone defense. Essentially won the game for the Commodores.

2. Derek Mason. After a disastrous first year as James Franklin's successor, the ex-Stanford defensive coordinator is getting some fight out of his team.

3. Kyle Shurmur. His numbers weren't great (13-of-26 for 166 yards and two touchdowns), but I thought Vandy's true freshman quarterback showed ample promise.

WHO'S DOWN

1. Mark Stoops. Kentucky's game management in the final minute and a half of the first half — questionable play calling on 4th-and-1 at Vandy 49; allowing Vandy "hidden-end" play to go for 34-yard touchdown — was disastrous. Hard to call that anything other than bad coaching.

2. Kentucky red-zone offense. Cats had a 1st-and-goal at the 1 and a 1st-and-goal at the 4 in the first half — and scored no points on either drive.

3. UK special teams. Kentucky had to call a timeout in punt formation. UK was called for illegal formation on a punt. It took a delay of game when lined up for a field goal. In the fourth period down four points, the Cats had a punt blocked deep in UK territory.

You'd think the Wildcats special teams coach would sweating about keeping his jo... never mind.

KEY NUMBER(S)

Six, three and 17. Kentucky made six trips inside the Vanderbilt 20 but scored on only three of them for 17 points.

FASHION FORWARD

For its final road game of 2015, Kentucky wore all white — helmets, jerseys, pants.

UP NEXT

Kentucky will face Charlotte (2-8) Nov. 21, at 7:30 p.m. The 49ers lost to the University of Texas-San Antonio 30-27 in overtime Saturday.

KNOW YOUR FOE

1. Charlotte is a third-year program that is playing a Conference-USA schedule for the first time in 2015. Kentucky will be the first Power-Five Conference foe the 49ers have ever faced.

2. After winning its first two games of 2015 (23-20 over Georgia State and 34-10 against Presbyterian), Charlotte has lost eight straight.

3. During its eight-game losing skid, Coach Brad Lambert's 49ers have allowed 40 points a game.

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