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Vanderbilt at Kentucky: Statistical Analysis

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You wouldn't know it due to all the basketball activity this weekend and the run-up to the huge early-season matchup between North Carolina and Kentucky, but this is one of, if not the, biggest football game of Kentucky's season.  So let's take a look at this game and see who has the edge.


First off, we are going to compare the offenses statistically.  I have not done this before for football, but I do it all the time for basketball.  So lets look at a few charts (all statistics courtesy of

Points and Yards

Kentucky Vanderbilt Advantage

Kentucky Vanderbilt Advantage
STAT Value Value

STAT Value Value
Plays/game 68.9 58.11 N/A
Passing Att/game 34.4 21.44 N/A
Yards Per Game 314.7 255.7 UK
Passing Completions/game 18.8 11 UK
Tds/game 2.9 2.56 UK
Passing Completions Pct 54.7 51.3 UK

Passing Yards Per Game 178.9 110.8 UK
Passing Tds/game 1 1.11 VU

Kentucky Vanderbilt

Passing Interceptions per game allowed 1 0.89 VU
STAT Value Value

Passing Qb Rating 102.1 103.5 VU
Rushing Att/game 34.5 36.67 N/A
Passing Sacked/game 1 1.67 UK
Rushing Yards Per Game 135.8 144.9 VU
Passing Sacked Yards/game -6.3 -11.44 UK

First, Third and Fourth Down Efficiency

Kentucky Vanderbilt Advantage

Kentucky Vanderbilt Advantage
STAT Value Value

STAT Value Value
First Downs/game 17.3 14.56 UK
Receptions/game 18.8 11 UK
First Downs Rushing/game 7.6 7.78 VU
Receptions Yards Per Game 178.9 110.8 UK
First Downs Passing/game 7.9 4.89 UK
Receptions Tds/game 1 1.11 VU
Third Downs Pct 31.8 35 VU

Fourth Downs Pct 50 20 UK

Sum of advantages for offense: VU 7 UK 12

What you see above are several discrete charts which identify various offensive statistics for your examination.  I have compared each stat on a per-game basis, identified who has the advantage and then, at the bottom,  I total up those advantages for a numeric score.  In this case, UK comes out ahead, 12-7

Vanderbilt comes out ahead in the rushing game, but UK comes out ahead big time in the passing game.  The 'Dores QB's have a higher rating, but not by very much.  UK comes out slightly ahead in third and fourth down conversions.


Defensively, it's a different story, to wit:

Defense, Penalties, Turnovers and Special Teams
Special Teams

Kentucky Vanderbilt Advantage

Kentucky Vanderbilt Advantage
STAT Value Value

STAT Value Value
Sacks/game 2.5 2.78 VU
Punts/game 6.1 6.11 N/A
Sack Yards/game -15.3 -19.11 VU
Punt Yards Per Game 42.1 38.6 UK
Interceptions/game 1.2 1.56 VU
FG Made/game 1 0.78 VU

FG Att/game 2 1.22
Penalties and Turnovers
FG 0-19 Made 0 1 N/A

Kentucky Vanderbilt Advantage
FG 0-19 Att 0 1 N/A
STAT Value Value

FG 20-29 Made 5 0 N/A
Penalties/game 5.2 4.56 VU
FG 20-29 Att 7 0 N/A
Penalty Yards/game 41.8 40.11 VU
FG 30-39 Made 1 3 N/A
Takeaways/game 2.4 2.22 UK
FG 30-39 Att 5 4 N/A
Giveaways/game 1.8 1.56 VU
FG 40-49 Made 3 3 N/A
Fumbles/game 1.7 1.56 VU
FG 40-49 Att 7 6 N/A
Fumbles Lost/game 0.8 0.67 VU
FG 50+ Made 1 0 N/A
Fumbles Recovered/game 2.1 1.56 UK
FG 50+ Att 1 0 N/A

Kicking Points/game 5.9 4.89 UK

Punt Returns/game 3.4 2.78 N/A

Punt Return Yards/game 33.5 33.22 UK

Kick Returns/game 3.1 3.78 N/A

Kick Returns Yards/game 82.9 73.56 UK
Sum of advantages for defense and special teams: VU 9 UK 6

What these charts tell us is that Vanderbilt is a better defensive team in every statistic measured.  Since both Vandy and Kentucky have played Georgia and Florida, there is no "but if's" to be said about either opponent.

Vandy, of course, is second in the SEC in the least penalties, and they dominate that statistic.  It could turn out to be big in this game.  UK has better special teams, and better turnover stats, which could also be huge.

In the end, it's VU 16, Kentucky 18.  Kentucky has a small edge in the stats, and hopefully, that plus home field advantage will be the difference.

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