UK Football

Blue Review: Instant analysis from Kentucky’s football win over Vanderbilt

UK's Baity says Cats are tuning out the outside noise

UK cornerback Derrick Baity talks about the Cats being in the meat of their schedule, not listening to their detractors and moving past the early-season pressure.
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UK cornerback Derrick Baity talks about the Cats being in the meat of their schedule, not listening to their detractors and moving past the early-season pressure.

Instant analysis from Kentucky’s 20-13 win over Vanderbilt:

How the game was won

The Kentucky defense held Vanderbilt without an offensive touchdown and UK survived a mistake-filled, second-half offensive performance.

Getting game balls

1. Mark Stoops. That second half was not pretty, but the UK coach has now won two “must-win” games (South Carolina, Vanderbilt) in the past three weeks.

2. UK defense. Other than running back Ralph Webb, Vanderbilt is a limited offense, but the Kentucky “D” still deserves credit for throttling the Commodores — and staving off that final, desperate Vandy drive.

3. Benny Snell. On the game’s final drive, as Kentucky iced its victory and ran out the clock, UK’s battering ram of a freshman running back carried eight times for 44 yards. For the game, he finished with 94 yards on 20 carries.

4. Kentucky football program. With the UK victory, the Cats now lead the all-time series with Vandy 43-42-4. The Cats now have the all-time series lead on two SEC football programs (4-3 vs. Arkansas).

Running gassers

1. Derek Mason. In his third season, the Vanderbilt head man still has not won an SEC road game (0-9).

2. Kentucky passing game. Stephen Johnson II made some nice plays with his legs (10 carries, 55 yards), but his throwing (10-of-24, 49 yards; 2-of-6 for 6 yards after halftime) was a struggle.

3. Boom Williams. After the UK star running back’s fumble was scooped and scored by Vandy’s Taurean Ferguson early in the third period, we never saw him again.

Key number(s)

2. With victories over South Carolina and Vanderbilt, Kentucky has two wins in a season over SEC East foes for only the ninth time since the SEC went to divisions in 1992. UK has never beaten three SEC East teams in the same season.

Fashion police

For its sixth game, Kentucky wore white helmets, blue jerseys with white numbers and letters and white pants.

Who is next

After an open date (Oct. 15), Kentucky will play host to Mississippi State (2-3, 1-2 SEC) on Oct. 22 in a game for which start time and TV network have yet to be announced. The Bulldogs lost to Auburn 38-14 Saturday.

Know your foe

1. Mississippi State Coach Dan Mullen has not lost to Kentucky (7-0) since taking over as Bulldogs Coach in 2009. UK has not beaten MSU in Lexington since 2005.

2. UK’s last win over Mississippi State came in Starkville on Nov. 1, 2008, by a score of 14-13. It is historically notable because it was the only game Kentucky won with Randall Cobb as its starting quarterback. The current Green Bay Packers wide receiver went 1-3 as UK’s starting QB down the stretch of the 2008 season, his freshman year.

3. With the graduated Dak Prescott now quarterbacking the Dallas Cowboys, Nick Fitzgerald has assumed the MSU starting QB role. A 6-foot-5, 230-pound sophomore from Richmond Hill, Ga., Fitzgerald is a dual threat. Including the Auburn game, he has thrown for 784 yards and seven touchdowns with only two interceptions. Fitzgerald is also State’s leading rusher, running for 420 yards.

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