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Kentucky 24, Vanderbilt 13 -- Postmortem

I am very, very happy to report that Kentucky has won their second SEC road game this year and is now eligible for a bowl for the fourth straight year.  Congrats to the football Wildcats on a big win at Vandy today.

Vanderbilt was a very, very tough and determined opponent, but their problem today was the same as it has been all year -- they have not been able to put enough points on the board.  Vandy's defense was extremely tough today in the passing game, but they were vulnerable over the ground as they have been all year.  Kentucky finally figured that out and exploited it to great advantage in the second half.

Derrick Locke was absolutely awesome, and his running mate Randall Cobb was almost his equal.  We saw trick plays, circus catches, and two tipped interceptions.  As usual in the Vanderbilt game, we found that the foe was much tougher than we expected, and that was very nearly the Wildcats' undoing.

But at the end of the day, Kentucky was superior offensively.  The 'Cats also made some nice halftime adjustments defensively, and Steve Brown & Co. held the Commodores without a score the entire second half.  I was taking Brown's name in vain at halftime, but he made up for all that with a well-played second half.

My observations follow the jump.

  • Special teams was fantastic today in almost every respect.  The one problem was two blocking in the back calls that wasted two fine returns by Randall Cobb.  A-
  • What a difference a half makes!  Vanderbilt absolutely dominated Kentucky in time of possession in the first half, and ground the Wildcat defense down to a nub.  But in the second half, it was almost exactly reversed.
  • Joker Phillips called a weak first half, and a strong second half.  I'll give him a B for this game, and a star for realizing that Vandy could not stop us on the ground.
  • Brooks gets a B also, and a star for whatever it was he said at halftime.
  • Randall Cobb and Derrick Locke are like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid -- two different players who achieve nearly identical results.  Locke gets his with speed and power, and Cobb gets his with remarkable shiftiness. A+ for both.
  • The halfback pass was a nice wrinkle.  We should dust that off again.  Locke threw a nice ball.
  • Morgan Newton played a very poised game, and I hope the Hartline experimentation is over for this year.  I like Hartline's experience, but he is clearly not ready to play and Newton improves every game.  Let's hope Brooks hitches his wagon to Newton's star.  That rocket he threw over the middle to LaRod King was a big reason we won this game.  I'm not sure Hartline could have made that throw. B for Newton.
  • Speaking of LaRod King, was he a great find for Brooks or what?  B+
  • Where the heck was Chris MatthewsC-  After further review, B.  Matthews made more good blocks on the outside than I gave him credit for.
  • Why don't we get John Connor a few more carries?
  • Ryan Tydlacka was simply awesome today.  Best game as a Wildcat, by far.  A+
  • Memo to Joker Phillips -- remember the offensive line you have is great.  Let them help us win games.
  • The D-line was not good today, but the secondary was incredible in the second half.
  • Please let Trevard Lindley be OK.  Cobb too.

Next week -- The Dawgs and 'Cats duke it out between the hedges in Athens.

Go, Cats!