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Vanderbilt loses grinder to Kentucky, 14-7

The Commodores had their chances, but came up short. Where have we heard that before?

NCAA Football: Vanderbilt at Kentucky Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Saturday night’s game between the Vanderbilt Commodores and the Kentucky Wildcats was defined by one thing: wind.

The game started inauspiciously, with Vanderbilt punting on its first possession. But the Commodores caught a break on Kentucky’s first drive, as QB Terry Wilson fumbled at the end of a 13-yard run on the Wildcats’ second play of the night. Six plays later, Kyle Shurmur found C.J. Bolar in the end zone on 3rd and 7 for a 29-yard touchdown pass.

But as the night wore on, and the wind picked up, Kentucky went to the ground over and over again. On the evening, Kentucky ran 60 plays and 51 of them were running plays — 32 to Benny Snell. Kentucky’s first scoring drive of the game, an 11-play, 48-yard drive midway through the second quarter — featured eight handoffs to Snell, though Wilson ended it by finding Lynn Bowden for a 5-yard touchdown pass to tie it up.

The teams would stay knotted at 7 until the end of the third quarter, though not for lack of trying. With the wind increasingly becoming a factor, Vanderbilt’s Ryley Guay hooked a 31-yard field goal attempt; and, on Kentucky’s ensuing drive, Miles Butler likewise whiffed on a 39-yarder.

At the start of the fourth quarter, Kyle Shurmur got Vanderbilt into great position by hitting Bolar on a 49-yard strike; but the Commodores would get stuffed on 4th and 1 at the Kentucky 16. And then, Kentucky went to what worked: more handoffs to Snell. Snell got the ball on 10 plays of the Wildcats’ 12-play, 80-yard drive that found the end zone and gave Kentucky a 14-7 lead, which would end up as the final margin.

Vanderbilt falls to 3-5 and 0-4 in the SEC with the loss.