NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UK Athletics) – Kentucky rushed for a season-high 401 yards and kept its bowl hopes alive with a 38-14 win over Vanderbilt on Saturday.
Lynn Bowden Jr. and Christopher Rodriguez Jr. both rushed for over 100 yards for the Wildcats (5-5, 3-5 Southeastern Conference).
Rodriguez led the way, rushing for 129 yards and two touchdowns against the Commodores (2-8, 1-6). Bowden, in his fifth game at quarterback since moving over form wide receiver, added 110 yards rushing and one TD.
”It’s just confidence in your teammates and pushing to get to the end zone,” Bowden said. ”Once I see the end zone and once my teammates see the end zone, we try to get to the end zone as fast as we can.”
Kavosiey Smoke rushed for 95 yards and one TD for the Wildcats in a matchup between two teams near the bottom of the SEC’s Eastern Division.
Kentucky responded well in the wake of a disappointing loss to Tennessee the previous week.
”We faced some adversity last week – tough game,” Wildcats coach Mark Stoops said. ”Sometimes that can linger. It did not this week as you can tell.”
The Wildcats scored 35 consecutive points after falling behind by 11 points early in the game.
It was the largest margin of victory in the series since 2001.
”This is a game of momentum and I thought we created some early,” Commodores coach Derek Mason said. ”But today we just got out-physicaled on both sides of the ball up front and we lost the line of scrimmage. Didn’t tackle very well. I thought they ran through tackles, through arm tackles and just extended drives and plays.”
Kentucky rambled for 529 yards in total offense and nearly doubled Vanderbilt in time of possession.
Vanderbilt scored two touchdowns in 45 seconds to take a 14-3 lead in the first quarter.
Ke’Shawn Vaughn scored on a 5-yard run with 5:21 left in the first quarter and two plays from scrimmage later cornerback Allan George raced to the end zone on a 67-yard fumble return to extend the Commodores’ early lead.
”Since training camp our coaches have been beating into our heads that we have to wrap the guy up and drive our feet, and we just didn’t execute that today,” George said.
Kentucky: The Wildcats need a home win over Tennessee-Martin or Louisville in their last two games to become bowl eligible for the fourth straight season.
Vanderbilt: The loss puts more pressure on coach Derek Mason, whose only wins this season were against Missouri and Northern Illinois.
Kentucky: The Wildcats host Tennessee-Martin, an Ohio Valley Conference team, on Saturday.
Vanderbilt: The Commodores host East Tennessee State in their home finale Saturday.