'Dores wallop Kentucky, 38-8
Vanderbilt's Zac Stacy gains 135 yards and scores three touchdowns.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) --
The Vanderbilt Commodores now must win away from home if they want
their first bowl since 2008 and second since 1982.
ran for 135 yards and three touchdowns, and Jordan Rodgers threw for
207 yards and two TDs as Vanderbilt routed Kentucky 38-8 Saturday in
snapping a two-game skid.
The Commodores (5-5, 2-5
Southeastern Conference) improved to 5-2 at home under first-year coach
James Franklin. They finish the season at Tennessee and at Wake Forest.
"I don't know what's happened in the past," Franklin said. "We
have a mission and a plan, and today we took steps towards that plan.
What we did at home is important, but you need to win tough games on
the road. That's what this conference is about."
(4-6, 1-5) had won two straight and eight of the last 10 in this
series. The Wildcats, with freshman Maxwell Smith making his first road
start, never threatened in this game and now must win both at No. 14
Georgia and in their home finale against Tennessee to extend their
school-record streak to a sixth straight bowl game.
coach Joker Phillips wasn't happy at a season-low in time of possession
or a season high with 10 penalties for 105 yards or the final margin.
lose to anybody by this margin, this way, it has nothing to do with the
margin, it has to do with the way we lost," Phillips said. "It's
demoralizing that we didn't execute the way we needed to win."
Commodores sacked Smith four times and forced a turnover. They did it
with their biggest win over Kentucky since a 42-6 win in 1969 and
matched their largest margin of victory in an SEC game since 1971 when
they beat Mississippi State 49-19.
"I saw a Vanderbilt team that has perhaps changed forever for the better," Kentucky defensive coordinator Rick Minter said.
They missed the shutout, which they don't mind.
held them to eight," Vanderbilt senior defensive end Tim Fugger said.
"I'm OK with that. Our offense was scoring left and right, and any time
your offense is scoring that many points, your defense can maybe let it
slip a little bit. But, yeah, we played lights out with a lot of guys
making plays. I'm proud of our guys."
almost from the opening kick in jumping out to a 24-0 lead at halftime
that could have been much bigger if not for its own mistakes.
personal foul on center Logan Stewart pushed the Commodores back after
getting to the Kentucky 26. Randall Burden also picked off a Rodgers'
pass at the goal line to end another Vanderbilt drive. After Archibald
Barnes knocked the ball away from Mychal Bailey on a kickoff return and
Steven Clarke recovered, the Commodores couldn't add more points when
Rodgers scrambled to the Kentucky 3 staying inbound despite having no
The clock ran out before Vandy could spike the ball, and the Wildcats sprinted to the locker room.
But the Commodores outgained Kentucky 278-41 in total offense in the first half and 410-211 overall.
could tell he was really flustered out there and confused on what we
were doing," Fugger said of Smith. "That really took it out of their
offense, and we were able to make plays and really stop them."
Umoh tackled Ryan Tydlacka after the Kentucky punter had to reach and
grab a low snap, and Stacy scored on the next play from 3 yards out for
a 7-0 lead in the first quarter. Vanderbilt scored 21 points in the
second quarter as Rodgers tossed a 14-yard TD pass to Chris Boyd to
start the scoring, which the quarterback celebrated by putting on the
championship belt mimicking his older brother, Aaron of the NFL's
Stacy capped a 59-yard drive with an 8-yard TD run,
and Ryan Fowler made it 24-0 with a 32-yard field goal. Stacy added an
18-yard TD run with 6:45 left when he moved a pile of players with him
into the end zone for nearly half that.
"I just saw a lot of white jerseys," Stacy said with the Wildcats in road uniforms.
Vanderbilt right tackle Kyle Fischer said Stacy could have gone down.
everybody in the offense, O-line, receivers, even Zac himself, just
driving the pile, everybody getting behind each other," Fischer said.
"That was just the resiliency of this team, too, showing that we never
quit no matter what. If we are up or down, we never give up. We are
Vanderbilt padded the lead in the third when
Rodgers tossed the ball to Jordan Matthews on a screen, and the
receiver broke a tackle by Burden and ran up the right sideline for a
49-yard TD with 4:05 left in the quarter. Burden was flagged on
consecutive plays on the drive for pass interference.
"Nobody should ever be able to bait you into any type of penalty, and it's not the Kentucky way," Phillips said.
avoided being shut out by Vandy for the first time since 1968 when
Smith drove the Wildcats 79 yards and found Nick Melillo on a 22-yard
TD with 1:41 left in the third. Smith then connected with Matt Roark
for the 2-point conversion. The Wildcats outgained Vandy 158-49 in the
quarter but managed only the one scoring drive.