Vanderbilt was a double-digit betting favorite in a SEC matchup for the first time in decades. They proved Vegas right with a big time showing against Kentucky.
The Commodores stomped the Wildcats 38-8 to improve to 5-5 overall and 2-5 in the SEC. The game, which was the home finale for players like Chris Marve and Casey Hayward, was one of Vanderbilt's most impressive performances of the season. The team held Kentucky to just 220 yards and 0-11 on third down for the game.
Vandy came out strong, scoring the game's first 31 points and sending scores of UK fans away from Dudley Field at halftime. Zac Stacy sandwiched a pair of scores around a Chris Boyd touchdown catch to give the team a 21-0 edge midway through the second quarter. The team had a chance to push their lead even further after Archibald Barnes stole Mychal Bailey's soul with a crushing, fumble-causing hit on a kickoff return with 39 seconds to play in the half. Unfortunately, time ran out on the 'Dores before they could pad their lead.
Jordan Rodgers hit Jordan Matthews on a 49-yard screen pass to give Vandy a 31-0 lead. Kentucky responded with a 79 yard touchdown drive and two-point conversion, but that was the bulk of the offense they'd muster for the game.
Stacy capped the team's scoring with an 18 yard touchdown run with 7:41 left to play. The junior met two defenders at the 10 yard line and dragged seven Kentucky players into the endzone in an impressive, top ten worthy effort. The team brought out their seniors for the waning minutes of the game, giving Larry Smith the opportunity to close out his career at Dudley Field with some solid running plays.
Rodgers, Stacy, and Matthews continued to be Vanderbilt's big three on offense. Rodgers finished with over 200 yards passing for the third straight game, while Stacy and Matthews both gained over 100 yards rushing and receiving, respectively. Matthews has caught 21 passes and gained 452 yards to go with three touchdowns in his last three games.
The win gives the Commodores a ton of momentum for their I-40 rivalry showdown with Tennessee next week. A win in Knoxville will make Vanderbilt bowl eligible for the first time since 2008. The Volunteers are still looking for their first SEC win and will be jumping at the opportunity to cut down their in-state rivals at home.