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Kentucky runs over Vanderbilt: 6 things to know and postgame banter

Despite a slow start, the Cats absolutely dominated and are now on the cusp of bowl eligibility.

Kentucky v Vanderbilt Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

The Kentucky Wildcats hammered the Vanderbilt Commodores Saturday afternoon by a final score of 38-14.

The Cats got off to a slow start, falling behind 14-3. However, they bounced back and dominated for three straight quarters.

Next up, the Cats will take on the Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks.

Vandy breaks their scoreless streak

The Dores didn’t score a point on 26 straight drives coming into Saturday’s contest. The last touchdown they scored was November 2nd.

They broke that streak quickly scoring on their second drive of the game with over five minutes remaining in the first quarter.

I was concerned about the defense coming into this game. Yes, they limit points, but I was beginning to wonder if that was a result of the ball-control offense more so than the actual defense.

While everyone complains about UK’s slow moving offensive attack, it might be to limit the amount of time the defense is on the field.

The defense is solid. There’s a drive or two a game, no matter who they play, where the defense just breaks down. I’m not sure why. But overall, they’re a solid group that will be unreal in 2020, and they finished the game having allowed just 199 total yards.

Kavosiey Smoke and Chris Rodriguez are still better than AJ Rose

Look, Rose waited for his time at UK, which is rare in today’s game. Sitting behind Benny Snell meant despite his big play ability, he wasn’t going to play much.

This year was his for the taking. The problem is he hasn’t capitalized. He makes big plays from time to time, but he has the worst vision of any running back I’ve ever seen.

Yes, he’s fast and quick. The problem is having that on a football field is negated if you can’t hit the hole fast and quick. It makes guys who run 4.5 forties, like Smoke and Rodriguez, look faster than Rose.

I think Rose is a good receiving option and change-of-pace back out of the backfield, but he’s not much more than that.

For awhile, I thought the offensive line was down this year. It’s not. The blame is on Rose. Give the ball to Smoke and Rodriguez and watch them run through every defense the Cats play.

I appreciate Rose and the unique skill set he brings, but it’s time to give the ball to the other two more talented backs.

Rodriguez is Baby Benny

I alluded to Rodriguez’s ability above, but he deserves his own section. Smoke is the best back on UK’s team talent wise, but Rodriguez is a workhorse.

He’s Baby Benny. Besides the fact that he wears Snell’s number, he runs hard and drags defenders.

He was in the dog house earlier this season because of his propensity to fumble, but it looks like that’s way behind him now.

Feed the man and watch him go to work.

The kicking game is...not good

It’s honestly become somewhat of an adventure guessing what’s going to happen each time the Cats try to kick a field goal or extra point.

And that sucks.

We became spoiled with Austin MacGinnis, but the kicking game hasn’t been good since then.

UK lost against both Florida and Tennessee in large part because of kicking. A reliable field goal kicker can change games. A bad one can change games, as well, but for the bad.

Chance Poore and Matt Ruffolo aren’t trustworthy. Despite getting the best kicker in the nation, the Cats are struggling to find someone reliable.

QB is Lynn Bowden’s to lose

I don’t know who’s the better option between Bowden and Sawyer Smith. The rushing attack with Bowden is terrific, but the Cats are one dimensional. On the other hand, under Smith, the rushing attack takes a hit, but he can pass better.

A one dimensional attack in modern college football tends to not work, especially in the SEC, but I just don’t know how UK can move away from Bowden.

Smith was good against Florida. He gave us a chance to win until the coaches got conservative. He was also terrible against Mississippi State and South Carolina, but he was playing hurt.

So, who is the real Sawyer Smith? I don’t know. But what I do know is Bowden has the locker room’s trust. And that’s more important than anything.

It might be frustrating at times, but Bowden might give the Cats the best chance to win.

However, against a team like Louisville, whose secondary is miserable, it’ll be interesting to see which direction UK goes. I expect UK to give Smith plenty of reps against UT Martin next week.

A good Saturday all around

Not only did Kentucky football dominate Vandy, but the basketball team received a commitment from five-star power forward Isaiah Jackson.

Widely considered an Alabama lean, the tide turned quickly this morning. The day Alabama has owned for years with the dominance of their football team became a big day for Kentucky.

It was a great start to the weekend. UK basically guaranteed bowl eligibility and picked up a five-star basketball recruit along the way.

It doesn’t get much better than that after the last week of disappointment. Hopefully, it’s just going up from here.

Go Cats!