Nov. 2, 2012
Looking to Make a Close UK Series Even Closer
A win Saturday in Lexington will get Vanderbilt within one victory of tying the overall series record with the Wildcats.
Entering Saturday, the Commodores are 39-41-4 all-time against Kentucky, which happens to be Vanderbilt's third most frequent opponent behind Tennessee and Ole Miss. Just two weeks ago, Vanderbilt took a 21-20-1 all-time advantage over Auburn with a 17-13 victory.
A victory would also give the Commodores consecutive victories over Kentucky for the first time since the Gerry DiNardo Era in 1994-95.
Experiencing More November Success Under Franklin
Vanderbilt looks to push its November record under James Franklin to 3-2 with a win at Kentucky. The winning percentage becomes significant when compared to Vanderbilt's 3-28 record from the previous decade of November dates.
In Franklin's first year as head coach, Vanderbilt won November games vs. Kentucky and Wake Forest and lost narrow decisions at Florida and Tennessee.
Seeking Three-Game Win Streak
Coming off wins over Auburn and UMass, the Commodores are looking for their first three-game winning streak since Franklin opened his Vanderbilt tenure last year with victories over Elon, UConn and Ole Miss.
Rodgers Approaching Elite Passing Yardage Company
Jordan Rodgers, who will start in just his 14th regular season game this Saturday, could enter Vanderbilt's all-time top 10 for passing yards with a strong performance against the Wildcats.
Rodgers needs 242 passing yards to become the No. 10 all-time passer in team history. Larry Smith, a 2011 graduate, currently holds 10th place with 3,223 yards.
Rodgers is moving up several other Vanderbilt single-season and career charts. Currently 10th in career total offense with 3,449 yards, Rodgers needs 56 yards to move pass Marcus Wilson (1982-92). With 87 passing yards, he will also move into 7th place among senior Vanderbilt QBs.
In his final year, Rodgers has become one of the SEC's most efficient and consistent QBs. Only Alabama's A.J. McCarron has fewer interceptions than Rodgers, who has thrown just two picks this year. Rodgers has completed at least 13 passes - and thrown for at least 170 yards - in every game this season.
Vanderbilt Seeking Rarity: Multiple SEC Road Wins
To increase its overall record to 5-4, the Commodores will need to do something that has been a tough task for past Vanderbilt squads: post multiple road wins in Southeastern Conference action.
After a 19-15 victory at Missouri on Oct. 6, the Commodores are positioned to do just that this Saturday when they journey to Lexington to face the Wildcats.
In the last 30 years, the Commodores have notched multiple SEC road wins in just four seasons: 1994 (Georgia and Kentucky), 1999 (Ole Miss and South Carolina), 2005 (Arkansas and Tennessee) and 2008 (Ole Miss and Kentucky).
Stacy & Matthews: One of SEC's Most Productive Tandems
Few SEC offenses boast a more productive rushing-receiving tandem than the Commodore duo of Zac Stacy (Sr., RB) and Jordan Matthews (Jr. WR).
Vanderbilt has one of only two SEC offenses with its top receiver amassing more than 700 yards and a back contributing at least 675 yards. Through eight games, Matthews has 775 receiving yards and Stacy has 683 rushing yards. The other SEC team that can match the production of Stacy and Matthews is Texas A&M, with QB Manziel (793 rushing yards) and WR Mike Evans (705 receiving yards).
Both Stacy and Matthews were productive against the `Cats last year. Stacy rushed for three TDs and 135 yards, while Matthews had 131 receiving yards and a TD.
Cutler, Bennett, Moore All Shined vs. Kentucky
With many fans eagerly anticipating the return this Sunday of Jay Cutler, Earl Bennett and D.J. Moore to Nashville as members of the Chicago Bears facing the hometown Titans, it should be noted that all three of the former Commodores had remarkable performances against Kentucky.
As a senior in 2005, Cutler threw for 395 yards (fifth most in team history) against the `Cats in a wild 48-43 shootout. That game also witnessed Bennett on the receiving end of five TD passes from Cutler, matching a SEC scoring record. In 2006, Bennett amassed 220 receiving yards at Kentucky, the 3rd highest single-game total ever by a `Dore. In 2008, Moore contributed two interceptions as a cornerback and two TD catches as a receiver in an incredible performance during a win that clinched bowl eligibility for the `Dores.
With a win, Franklin's record as Vanderbilt's head coach will be 11-11. That will be the best mark by a second-year Commodore head coach since Steve Sloan served in 1993-74.
The Commodores are looking to go to 3-0 in day games.
Five of Vanderbilt's top six tacklers on a defense that ranks 21st in the NCAA are underclassmen: Kenny Ladler (Jr., safety), Chase Garnham (Jr., LB), Javon Marshall (R-Jr., safety), Karl Butler (Jr., LB) and Andre Hal (Jr., CB).
Matthews needs five catches and 62 receiving yards to enter the team's single-season top 10 lists in both categories. Matthews is on pace to register more than 80 catches and 1,100 receiving yards.