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Kentucky vs. Vanderbilt Recap

The Kentucky wildcats traveled to the construction site that is FirstBank Stadium in Nashville to take on the Vanderbilt commodores. The wildcats are now headed home 4-0 and 1-0 in SEC play. Here's how the game played out in Nashville.

First Quarter

Kentucky won the coin toss (4-0 on coin tosses this year) and deferred to the second half. Kentucky's defense wasted no time causing problem for commodore quarterback AJ Swann as they forced a 3 and out. After a punt, Kentucky's offense trotted out looking to take an early lead. They did just that. After some nice passes and some free yardage thanks to targeting penalty, the cats were looking to strike for 6. Jutahn McClain took a hand off 36 yards for a touchdown to put Kentucky up 7-0 early. The wildcat defense saw the offense having fun and decided to get in on the scoring action. On a 2nd and long, Swann was pressured by Trevin Wallace. He escaped the sack but then was pressured again by JJ Weaver. Swann tried to make a last ditch effort to check it down towards his sideline but Sophomore CB Maxwell Hairston read it and jumped the route. He intercepted the pass and returned it 29 yards for a touchdown. Within 7 minutes, Kentucky was up 14-0. The first quarter fireworks weren't over quite yet. A few drives later, Leary, after throwing an interception a drive prior, responded with a beautiful deep ball to Barion Brown for 50+ yards that set UK up at the 2 yard line. The former commodore Ray Davis punched it in for the wildcats 2 plays later. Kentucky held a 21-0 lead after the first quarter.

Second Quarter

In the second quarter, we saw both teams stall. Halfway through the quarter, Leary scrambled for 26 yards on 3rd and 7 but the cats couldn't find the end zone. Alex Rayner would tack on a field goal to extend the lead to 24-0. In the final 5 minutes of the quarter, Vanderbilt would add a field goal and a touchdown just before half to bring it within 14 points at halftime. Very ugly quarter for both teams but the commodores had the momentum.

Halftime Score: Kentucky-24 Vanderbilt-10

Third Quarter

Coming out of half, Kentucky really needed some momentum on the offensive side of the ball. Unfortunately they couldn't get anything going and went 3 and out. The commodores would put together a decent drive but the wildcat defense would hold them to another field goal. This brought the score to 24-13. This is where the nerves started to set in. No way this is happening again right? Kentucky would fail to do anything on offense again and punted once more. With 9 minutes to play in the 3rd quarter, AJ Swann threw a pass and LB D'Eryk Jackson undercut the route and intercepted the pass. The receiver had Jackson's ankles so he quickly looked around and say Andru Phillips and lateraled it to him. Phillips then took the ball and returned it nearly 50 yards. There was also a penalty on Vanderbilt on the play that was enforced half the distance to the goal line so Kentucky was in business. Kentucky would waste no time and Ray Davis would find the end zone for the 2nd time a few plays later. The lead grew to 31-13. Both teams would trade drives for the rest of the quarter.

Fourth Quarter

In the early 4th quarter, Kentucky found some success on the ground with Ray Davis and Jutahn McClain. It hasn't been a secret that Dane Key has struggled at times this year but with about 10 minutes left, Leary threw a beautiful ball and Key "mossed" his defender and came down with a crazy 22 yard touchdown catch. He got up and tapped the defenders helmet and got a excessive celebration penalty for it but it was good to see him get going. Vanderbilt would respond with a touchdown after an incomplete pass was called complete without reviewing it and some very weak pass interference calls (yes I'm still mad). Kentucky would punt but something special would happen this drive. With 4:30 to go, Swann misfired and Maxwell Hairston intercepted the pass and returned it 54 yards for his second pick six of the day. He is the first player in UK history to do so. The commodores would score a garbage time touchdown with less than 30 seconds left to make it look a bit closer than it really was.

Final Score: Kentucky-45 Vanderbilt-28


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