David Rutz looks at the Commodores' 2010 opponents
Aug. 25, 2010
Vanderbilt at Kentucky Date: November 13, 2010 (Kickoff TBA) Location: Commonwealth Stadium (67,606), Lexington, Ky.
Coach: Joker Phillips (1st year, 0-0)
Conference: Southeastern (East)
Colors: Blue and White
2009 record: 7-6, 3-5 SEC
Postseason: Music City Bowl (Lost to Clemson, 21-13)
Highest ranking/Final ranking: Unranked/Unranked
Returning starters: 13 (5 offense, 7 defense, 1 special teams) Most impressive win of 2009: The Wildcats defeated Georgia in Athens for the first time in 32 years, coming from behind to win 34-27 on Nov. 21. It marked the third straight road conference victory for Kentucky as well, also the first time that had been accomplished by the Wildcats in 32 years.
Worst loss: Kentucky lost to its annual interdivisional rival, Mississippi State, on Oct. 31, 31-24, in its Homecoming Game. It was only Mississippi State’s second win in the previous six games. The loss dropped the Wildcats to 21-16 against the Bulldogs and 46-18 in Homecoming contests.
Last time Kentucky played Vanderbilt: The Commodores led at halftime for the first time in conference play, but the game belonged to the Wildcats after intermission. In the second half, they scored two touchdowns and held Vanderbilt to only one first down to win 24-13 on Nov. 14. Vanderbilt-Kentucky series: Kentucky leads 40-38-4. These two division rivals have always played each other well and it’s reflected in the closeness of the series record. Although the Wildcats have won five of the last seven match-ups, it was the Commodores who triumphed when they last met in Lexington, a 31-24 victory in 2008 that catapulted Vanderbilt to bowl eligibility for the first time in 26 seasons.
Notes: After Mississippi State’s former coach Sylvester Croom, Joker Phillips is only the second African American head coach in SEC history, replacing the retired Rich Brooks … Last year’s contest marked the first time since 2003 that the Wildcats put up more yards on offense between the teams … This game represents a match-up of winners of three of the last four Music City Bowls, with Kentucky winning in 2006 and 2007 and Vanderbilt winning in 2008 … Kentucky’s defeat in the 2009 Music City Bowl snapped a three-year bowl win streak, the longest in program history … The Wildcats have only finished at .500 in SEC play (4-4) once since 1999.