What happened and what mattered in the Kentucky 14-7 win over Vanderbilt?
Kentucky 14, Vanderbilt 7
Benny Snell isn’t going to win the Heisman, but he deserves some sort of an MVP award. He carried the Kentucky offense with 169 yards on 32 carries, and closed out a long scoring drive in the fourth quarter with a seven yard touchdown run for an offense that managed just 18 passing yards. Terry Wilson ran for 91 yards, but he only completed 3-of-9 passes for those 18 yards – and he threw a touchdown pass.
The Kentucky defense was magnificent. Mike Edwards came up with an All-SEC performance in the secondary with nine tackles, a fumble recovery and a broken up pass, and Josh Allen was Josh Allen with two sacks and plenty of other big plays. On the other side, Vanderbilt’s Jordan Griffin met Mr. Snell time and again, finishing with 18 tackles.
Vanderbilt’s Kyle Shurmur was fine, but he didn’t get enough out of the ground game to help the cause. Jamauri Wakefield barreled for 74 yards, but the Commodores never came up with one big run, and almost never helped to set up Shurmur with an easy third down try.
Kentucky still controls its own College Football Playoff world. Win out, and it’s the national champion. Next up is a trip to Missouri, and then comes the home date against Georgia that might just be for the East title. The road games at Mizzou, Tennessee, and Louisville are all winnable, as is the date with Middle Tennessee – who needs a passing game? But for now, UK is bowl eligible. Start with that – it’s an accomplishment for this program, even if bar is set higher now.
This was the first of a three game run for Vanderbilt, with Arkansas and Missouri up next before finishing up against Ole Miss and Tennessee. The Commodores now have to win four of their lsat five to get bowl eligible. They’re just good enough to win any of the final five, not four.