Good morning, folks! Kentucky football is still unbeaten at 4-0 following Saturday’s 45-28 win over the Vanderbilt Commodores. Similar to the first three games of the season, it wasn’t a perfect performance from the Wildcats — far from it, actually. But it was more than enough to polish off their first SEC matchup with a victory.
Kentucky opened up the 11 a.m. local time kickoff in Nashville with its best quarter of the season thus far. The ‘Cats outscored Vandy 21-0 in the opening period, kickstarted by a 36-yard run from senior running back JuTahn McClain. Not even two minutes later, sophomore defensive back Maxwell Hairston returned the first (!!) of his two interceptions for a touchdown. Former ‘Dore Ray Davis capped off the first 15 minutes of in-game action with a two-yard score.
THIS was the version of Kentucky that the Big Blue Nation had been begging for the last three weeks. Then the second quarter started…
Vanderbilt running back Sedrick Alexander punched in a seven-yard touchdown right before halftime that cut Kentucky’s lead down to just 24-10. The ‘Cats punted twice and only netted one field goal in the second quarter. The second half began with Devin Leary throwing his second interception of the day. A Vandy field goal made it too close for comfort at 24-13, but the better team ran away down the stretch.
Kentucky came away with touchdowns on back-to-back possessions, the second being a nine-play, 73-yard drive that took nearly seven minutes before Leary tossed a perfect ball to sophomore wide receiver Dane Key (who gave his defender a polite tap on the head in celebration) in the corner of the endzone. Vanderbilt added two late, four-quarter touchdowns (sandwiched around Hairston’s second pick-6 — the first player ever in program history with two in the same game) to make the score seem closer than it was.
“I’m not exactly ecstatic about it,” Head coach Mark Stoops said to begin his postgame press conference. “Can I enjoy it for five more minutes? 4-0 and I’ve been pissed off at every press conference.”
Most fans would agree, but 4-0 is still 4-0. Kentucky will test its undefeated record next weekend when No. 25 Florida comes to Kroger Field. But before we look too far ahead, let’s dive into the rest of our postgame content from Saturday’s win.
- How Kentucky created 3 takeaways against Vanderbilt
- Inconsistent offense doesn’t take away from Kentucky’s SEC road win
- Ray Davis happy to “close that chapter” vs. Vanderbilt and move on
- Two-way haymakers separate Kentucky from Vanderbilt
- Postgame notes and stats from Kentucky’s win over Vanderbilt
KSR’s Rapid Reaction
There was no Nick Roush on the beat this weekend (who schedules a wedding in the middle of the football season?), so Nashville resident/KSR boss Tyler Thompson stepped in alongside Adam Luckett to break down the ‘Cats and the ‘Dores. With a beautiful background of cranes and open construction, Tyler and Adam discussed Kentucky’s fast start, offensive inconsistencies, Ray Davis’ return to Vandy, and much more.
Highlights from the win
Mark Stoops’ postgame press conference
More postgame press conferences
UK sports taking over Sunday
Sunday is going to be a busy one across the University of Kentucky campus. A total of five different UK sports teams will be in action throughout the day.
Most notably, the No. 22 volleyball ‘Cats will host No. 14 Tennessee at 3:00 p.m. EST at Rupp Arena on ESPN. It has been an admittedly rough start to the season for the Wildcats, which moved to 3-6 on the season following a must-have 3-1 win over LSU on Friday. Prior to beating the Tigers the other day, Kentucky had faced six straight ranked opponents. They’ve been desperate for SEC play and it’s finally here — time to start stacking some wins.
Elsewhere in Lexington, the softball team will host Parkland College in a doubleheader consisting of two seven-inning contests. First pitch is scheduled for noon EST at John Cropp Stadium. UK took down EKU 7-3 in the first game of the fall slate last Sunday.
Additionally, women’s soccer is in Gainesville to face Florida at 2:00 p.m. EST on ESPNU, men’s soccer is in Norfolk, VA to take on Old Dominion at 6:00 p.m. EST on ESPN+, and women’s golf continues its run at the Mason Rudolph Championship in Franklin, TN. There’s a lot going on with UK Athletics on this fine Sunday.
‘Cats in the NFL: Week 3
1:00 (CBS) | Titans (W. Levis)@ Browns (Z. Smith)
1:00 (FOX) | Falcons (J. Ali, B. Dupree) @ Lions
1:00 (FOX) | Saints (L. Bowden, L. Johnson, L. Young) @ Packers (C. Valentine)
1:00 (CBS) | Broncos @ Dolphins (K. Joseph)
1:00 (FOX) | Chargers @ Vikings
1:00 (CBS) | Patriots @ Jets (R. Cobb, B. Echols)
1:00 (CBS) | Bills @ Commanders (J. Davis, C. Rodriguez)
1:00 (FOX) | Texans @ Jaguars (J. Allen, L. Fortner)
1:00 (CBS) | Colts @ Ravens
4:05 (CBS) | Panthers @ Seahawks
4:25 (FOX) | Bears @ Chiefs (M. Edwards)
4:25 (FOX) | Cowboys @ Cardinals
8:20 (NBC) | Steelers @ Raiders
Monday Night Football
7:15 (ABC) | Eagles @ Buccaneers
8:15 (ESPN/ESPN2) | Rams @ Bengals
Kentucky football’s recruiting class now ranked No. 25
In the very early hours of Saturday morning, roughly nine hours before the Wildcats kicked off against Vanderbilt, the coaching staff received some good news. Three-star class of 2024 linebacker Devin Smith announced his commitment to Kentucky. The 6-foot-1, 215-pound Brunswick (GA) High product chose the ‘Cats over LSU. He’s considered the No. 615 overall high school senior in the country by the On3 Industry Ranking. KSR’s Adam Luckett has a Film Room breakdown of Smith’s game here.
Smith is the fourth defensive commitment for UK this month, joining three-star EDGE Lorenzo Cowan, four-star EDGE Jacob Smith, and four-star DL Jerod Smith. His addition brings Kentucky’s class ranking up to No. 25 nationally. That number could jump even higher, too. UK is the current favorite to land blue-chip four-star EDGE Brian Robinson. Let’s keep the good vibes rolling.