The Point After: Kentucky

Nov. 11, 2017

By Zac Ellis

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Vanderbilt continued its struggles in SEC play on Saturday.

Visiting Kentucky ran wild on the Commodores’ defense, cementing a 44-21 road win at Vanderbilt Stadium.

Here’s how it went down on West End:

WHAT HAPPENED: Vanderbilt took an early 7-0 lead on its second possession, but Kentucky took control soon after. The Wildcats responded with a 22-yard touchdown run from Sihiem King to even the score, 7-7. A trio of Kyle Shurmur interceptions added to the Cats’ momentum, and they took a 20-7 lead into the half. That momentum carried into the third quarter, when Kentucky scored on its first possession and went on to lead by as many as 27 points.

TURNING POINT: Kentucky kicked off the second half with a 13-point lead and the ball in hopes of adding to its advantage. On third down at midfield, quarterback Stephen Johnson hit Lynn Bowden with a screen pass. Vanderbilt’s Tre Herndon then forced Bowden to fumble along the sideline, the ball bouncing to the 2-yard line. But Kentucky’s Charles Walker recovered at the 2, maintaining the ‘Cats’ possession and setting up a Benny Snell touchdown run on the next play. That pushed Kentucky's lead to 27-7.

RB Benny Snell Jr. (Kentucky)
The sophomore was a force on the Wildcats’ offense. He finished with a game-high 116 rushing yards and three touchdowns on just 17 carries, controlling the matchup on the ground all night.

LB Oren Burks (Vanderbilt)
Burks was a bright spot on an otherwise sluggish day for Vanderbilt’s defense. He led the Commodores with 12 total tackles, including seven individual. Burks also snagged a sack and totaled 1.5 tackles for loss.

DE Denzil Ware (Kentucky)
A number of Kentucky defenders made life hard for Vanderbilt's offense, but Ware was particularly disruptive. He snagged an interception off a tipped Shurmur pass in the first quarter and chipped in two sacks on the night.

Rushing yards by Kentucky, adjusted for sacks. Vanderbilt’s defense did little to limit the Wildcats’ effectiveness on the ground. The ‘Cats were the more physical team up front and allowed Snell and Sihiem King to combine for 185 rushing yards and five touchdowns.

Consecutive points for Kentucky following Vanderbilt’s 7-0 lead. The Commodores, who entered the weekend 4-1 when scoring first this season, found the end zone first on Saturday. But the Wildcats then reeled off 34 consecutive points to deflate the Dores’ efforts.

Passing yards for Shurmur. The junior quarterback threw a season-high four interceptions on Saturday, including three in the first half. But the quarterback bounced back in the second half with largely efficient play. Shurmur ended the day 30-of-43 (69.7 percent) for 308 yards and a touchdown. 

WORTH NOTING: With his one touchdown pass, Shurmur tied former Commodore Jay Cutler for second place in single-season passing touchdowns (21) at Vanderbilt. He needs two more touchdown tosses to take sole possession of No. 1 with 23.

WHAT’S NEXT: Vanderbilt hosts its final home game – and Senior Day – against Missouri at Vanderbilt Stadium next Saturday, Nov. 18. Kickoff is 6:30 p.m. on SEC Network.

Zac Ellis is the Writer and Digital Media Editor for Vanderbilt Athletics.


Proud Sponsors of Commodore Athletics