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In Case You’ve Forgotten (Or Did So Purposely) Kentucky Plays Vanderbilt Saturday

This Saturday at high noon, Kentucky will look to stumble into their first SEC win of the 2012 season when they take on James Franklin’s Vanderbilt Commodores.  Joker Phillips’ Wildcats who find themselves sitting at 1-8 on the season, look to avenge last season’s humiliating 38-8 loss in Nashville.  While history implies that this should be an easy home victory for the Wildcats that’s far from the case.  No, history won’t have too much to say about this one as Vanderbilt comes into Commonwealth Stadium with a team that could be called “significantly better” for lack of a better term.  This wide gap in skill isn’t just attributed to the obvious nosedive in Kentucky’s performance either; James Franklin has done an absolutely remarkable job in turning around a program that many thought couldn’t be transformed because of their academic limitations.  Regardless, Vanderbilt, yes the same Vanderbilt you’re thinking of, has multiple playmakers on both sides of the ball that are certain to give Kentucky trouble come the weekend.


First and foremost, the name that you’ll most likely be hearing early and often come Saturday is Jordan Rodgers.  Jordan Rodgers is the Quarterback for the ‘Dores and happens to be the brother of Green Bay Packers Quarterback, Aaron Rodgers (take a shot every time that little trinket is mentioned in the broadcast and you’ll likely have 2 or 3 shots, kind of a lame drinking game actually).  Despite only throwing 5 touchdowns in eight games, he is actually having a solid season statistically speaking.  Rodgers has completed 58.9% of his 180 attempts and is averaging a very respectable 8.1 yards per passing attempt.  Hypothetically speaking, if he were to be a team he would rank 23rd in pass yards per attempt, tied with Louisiana Tech and West Virginia.  Part of the reason for this passing success is Junior wide-out, Jordan Matthews, who has scampered for 3 touchdowns while compiling 775 total receiving yards.  More bad news for Kentucky’s defense is that Running Back, Zac Stacey, has returned for his Senior season.  Stacy, as you may remember, nearly dragged every Wildcat defender into the endzone last year for one of his three touchdowns on the day.  He hasn’t slowed this season either as he has gathered 683 yards rushing (5.2 ypa), 101 yards receiving, and 5 total touchdowns.  Given this, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where Kentucky could stop the Commodore offense given our porous defense.

The Vanderbilt offense has been the story the 2012 season, but the defense is quietly putting up some solid performances in the nation’s premier football conference.  While the Commodore defense is much more a committee than a handful of stars there are several standouts whose name you will be hearing Saturday if you feel like tuning into the contest.  Safety, Kenny Ladler, is perhaps VU’s most known defensive player.  In his seven games he has compiled 51 tackles, 1 sack, and has an interception return for 17 yards.  The Vandy line is similar to their entire defense in the “by committee” aspect but a few players stand out like DE Walker May and DT Rob Lohr.  The pair have combined for 34 tackles and 2 sacks.  Because of the pressure these two constantly apply to opposing defenses, Vanderbilt is among the SEC’s best in pass defense, only allowing 5.6 yards per passing attempt (4th in the SEC).  The chaos that these two help create has also helped Vanderbilt become one of the SEC’s best in terms of tackles for loss and sacks, ranking 5th and 7th respectively.  Overall the Dores’ defense may not contain the stars that are typical of the SEC, but they are very well disciplined and effective in their roles.


The time to find Kentucky’s first SEC win is rapidly dwindling and it would take quite the titanic effort to pull that feat off on Saturday.  There have been some rumblings around the world of Kentucky sports that this particular match-up is a “winnable” game for the Wildcats, but it’s my belief that this feeling is largely due to historical biases felt towards the Vanderbilt program.  According to my rating system Vanderbilt has a 73% chance to win this game which is the 20th highest probability of the 56 games taking place this weekend.  It’s a sad state of affairs when it would be considered a large upset to beat Vanderbilt, but that’s the scenario we find ourselves in currently.

Article written by Jonathan Schuette

16 Comments for In Case You’ve Forgotten (Or Did So Purposely) Kentucky Plays Vanderbilt Saturday

  1. Ernie Banks
    6:38 pm November 1, 2012 Permalink

    Yea.. I don’t know who that is.

  2. ChiefdCat
    6:48 pm November 1, 2012 Permalink

    Do you really have to make me look at this when I’m coming to check for a basketball live blog? I hope we are at least favored over Samford.

  3. wildcat502
    7:01 pm November 1, 2012 Permalink

    I would have loved to seen Joker to succeed here. He is a UK alumni and we love him for that. We love that he came here to coach and we know he wanted to succeed. Joker would have retired here. Maybe he would have succeeded if we were almost equal to the other SEC teams in terms of facilities, so recruiting could have been easier.
    Louisville has updated facilities and you can see that their recruiting, lately, has been better. People do not understand how hard it is to recruit, when the kids are looking around, laughing at what we have in Lexington. It took a great recruiter to get the kids we have gotten in the last 2 years. I trully hope we keep Joker, at UK, in some capacity, if he is let go as head coach.

  4. Ray Chulray
    7:36 pm November 1, 2012 Permalink

    Mitch won’t ‘far’ Joker. The mindset = Let’s give him another year. There WILL be improvement. If Joker is NOT UK’s head coach in 2013, it will be because he resigned. Brutal schedule in toughest conference + plethora of injuries to QBs etc. et. al. + Joker is a good guy who has done alot at & 4 UK = reason to keep him another year.

  5. carnifex
    9:27 pm November 1, 2012 Permalink

    Stacy “stubbed his toe” on the entire UK football fraternity last year. For those not knowing, Barney said that we have stubbed our toe this season, and he and Joker are going to sit down at the end of the season, and straighten things out so we’re heading in the right direction again.

    Get ready suckers, he’s bringing Mushmouth back.

  6. Fred Rogers
    9:34 pm November 1, 2012 Permalink

    I used to be a huge football fan for many many years until I finally wised up and now I don’t care one little bit. I figure why should I when our own school leaders don’t care right? I guess I am now apathetic which is better than mad and fed up. I may come back one day if we are better ( much better like 6 wins haha) but not now.

  7. Jimmy
    10:14 pm November 1, 2012 Permalink

    Jonathan Schuette please stop posting horrible articles. Thanks.

  8. Steve
    10:48 pm November 1, 2012 Permalink

    Tell Mitch Barnhart your toughts on UK Football

    [email protected]

  9. Bigger Blue
    11:01 pm November 1, 2012 Permalink

    Note to writer…..No one cares about UK football…..Mitch made sure of this fact. I will be surprised if there are 20k people at CWS Saturday. The ones that do attend have free tickets and couldn’t care less what happens on the field. Heck even the boo birds have given up going to the games.

  10. Varges
    11:02 pm November 1, 2012 Permalink

    #8 He doesn’t care what we think unless your his dear friend like Joker.

  11. Sparks
    11:28 pm November 1, 2012 Permalink

    Yea I’ll just use the game to help me fall asleep for a nap

  12. The Jokes on us
    11:29 pm November 1, 2012 Permalink

    Com on people grow up. Joker will be let go next week, so quit whinning about Barnhart. Why would he fire Barnhart any time sooner? So sanders can be HC the rest of the season. Mark it down Monday there will be a press conference announcing Joker will not be brought back, but he will be allowed to finish the season out.
    #3 that is a lame excuse. Brooks won with the same facilities Joker has now. Kentuckys facilities are not Bamas or LSU’s.bye no means. But they are on par with most other SEC schools. They Definatly better then what Willie Taggert has at WKU and he seems to be doing just fine. UK has more then enuff to be competitive. No recruiting room in the world will fix 3 rd and 10 passes behind the line of scrimmage or not having playes for Cobb inside the 10 yard line.
    We all like Joker but he gets payed millions to WIN games

  13. tabbl
    11:35 pm November 1, 2012 Permalink

    10- Or a certain radio personality. I still like KSR because Mitch knows that he has a friendly outlet and can bypass the traditional tv and newspapers to leak information. It’s a bit insulting that certain radio personalities consider themselves to be fiercely independent, but whatever, keep on keeping on.

  14. Unknown Fan
    7:30 am November 2, 2012 Permalink

    Moral Victory #9 coming soon. Woulda,Coulda,Shouda Sunshine Pumpers will sugar coat yet another turd to keep in good graces of BarnFart.

  15. Facilities
    8:22 am November 2, 2012 Permalink

    #12, If you really believe UK’s facilities are “on par with most other SEC schools” you are incredible naive or just plain stupid. Were not talking about the stadium per se, but the facilities areas where the dirty work goes on all week in preparation for the game. Off hand I know for a fact they are behind Georgia, Florida, Auburn, Alabama, Tennessee, Arkansas, LSU, Texas A&M, and Mississippi State. I will admit I don’t know much about South Carolina, Missouri, and Ole Miss but Vanderbilt is doing a facility renovation. Clearly we have different definitions as to how many constitutes “most”.

  16. ukcat58
    2:28 pm November 2, 2012 Permalink

    How about some more excuses, tough schedule, injuries, youth. We are the new Vandy! The laughing stock of the media and our opponents. If Joker goes today, it is a 3-5 year rebuild to get to a 500 season.
    Keep Joker, and watch the marketplace work its magic and has the stadium less than half full. It will take us a decade to rebuild if Joker stays another year – The JOKE is on us!~