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GAMEDAY College Football

Vanderbilt 24, Kentucky 21

(AP Photo/Michael Clubb)

By STEVE MCCLAIN
Associated Press

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Mike Wright ran 59 yards for a touchdown and completed an 8-yard touchdown pass to Will Sheppard with 32 seconds left for a 24-21 win over Kentucky, snapping a 26-game Southeastern Conference losing streak.

Wright was named the Commodores' starting quarterback to start the season but was benched following a 45-25 loss to Wake Forest September 10, Freshman AJ Swann started the last six games but was ruled out against Kentucky due to an injury.

"You got a bunch of guys that are fighting," Vanderbilt coach Clark Lea said. "We're building a program, and building a program's hard. It takes people that are aligned, doing the right things the right way. And that's what these guys are doing. I'm glad they got rewarded today."

Wright ran for 126 yards and a touchdown, and threw for 184 yards and another touchdown. Ray Davis added 126 yards rushing and a touchdown for the Commodores.

"There's going to be a lot to clean up, but we like to learn from wins," Lea said. "I'm proud of Mike. Mike's had a tough year, personally a tough year. But he's fought through that and stayed with his teammates and prepared every week. He's made some big plays for us this season. He came out with a big run at the end to connect with Will Sheperd and I thought he did some really nice things to keep us in the game early."

Kentucky (6-4, 3-4) appeared to have survived the Vandy effort after Chris Rodriguez twice gave the Wildcats a lead, scoring from the 5 for a 15-14 lead, then racing 72 yards for a touchdown to make it 21-17 with 5:03 left in the game.

Vandy's game-winning drive appeared stalled, but Octavious Oxendine's personal foul wiped out a Tyrell Ajian interception. Given new life, Wright completed a 40-yard pass to Quincy Skinner Jr. to the Kentucky 9 on fourth-and-11 to set up the winning score.

"You give them credit," Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said. "I have been there. I know how hard they've worked. It's a good moment for them. It's hard for me to put my finger on (one) thing. Disappointed with the way things have gone. I think everyone is. For whatever reason I'm not getting it done with this team."

Vanderbilt's last conference win was Oct. 19, 2019 over Missouri 21-14.

THE TAKEAWAY

Vanderbilt: The Commodores defense, which had given up a conference-worst 36.8 points per game, was stellar outside of the two touchdown scores. The ended up with four sacks and six tackles for loss to go with an interception on the final play of the game. CJ Taylor led the 'Dores defense with six tackles, a sack and the interception. That pressure allowed a Vanderbilt defense surrendering 314 yards a game passing to hold Will Levis to just 109 yards on 11-of-23 completions.

Kentucky: The Wildcats' inability to get touchdowns in the red zone in the first half led to the 7-6 halftime deficit. Twice Kentucky drove inside Vandy's 20 and another time inside the 30 to come away with just two field goals of 47 and 27 yards and blocked field goal from 37 yards. The second field goal completed a 66-yard, 15-play drive that stalled at the Vanderbilt 9.

DEJ� VU

This is the not the first time Kentucky has been the team Vandy has beaten to snap a long losing streak. Back in 2003, Vanderbilt beat Kentucky 28-17 at home on Nov. 15 behind four touchdown passes from Jay Cutler to snap a 23-game losing streak.

UP NEXT

Vanderbilt closes out the season with two home games, starting with Florida Saturday.

Kentucky continues its three-game home stand to end the season, hosting No. 1 Georgia Saturday.

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Updated November 12, 2022


Scoring Summary
First Quarter VandyKty
Kty FG 13:22 Matt Ruffolo 47 yd FG 0 3
Vandy TD 11:54 Mike Wright 59 yd run (Joseph Bulovas kick) 7 3
Kty FG 3:33 Matt Ruffolo 27 yd FG 7 6
Third Quarter VandyKty
Vandy TD 7:47 Ray Davis 1 yd run (Joseph Bulovas kick) 14 6
Kty FG 3:42 Matt Ruffolo 39 yd FG 14 9
Fourth Quarter VandyKty
Kty TD 11:14 Chris Rodriguez Jr. 5 yd run (failed 2pt pass) 14 15
Vandy FG 5:22 Joseph Bulovas 26 yd FG 17 15
Kty TD 5:03 Chris Rodriguez Jr. 72 yd run (failed 2pt rush) 17 21
Vandy TD 0:32 Will Sheppard 8 yd pass from Mike Wright (Joseph Bulovas kick) 24 21
Team Stats
  Vanderbilt Kentucky
First downs 18 16
  Rushing 9 8
  Passing 7 6
  Penalty 2 2
3rd Down Efficiency 11-17, 65% 4-12, 33%
4th down efficiency 1-3, 33% 1-2, 50%
Rushes-Yards 44-264 31-213
Passing Yards 184 109
Return Yards 47 56
Completions-Attempts-Int 12-23-1 11-23-1
Sacks-Yards Lost 1--1 4--23
Punts 1 2
Punts-Average 39 35
Fumbles Lost 1-1 0-0
Penalties - Yards 7-71 4-50
Time of Possession 33:15 26:45
Vanderbilt Passing
Player Cmp Att Yds TDs Int
M. Wright 12 23 184 1 1
Kentucky Passing
Player Cmp Att Yds TDs Int
W. Levis 11 23 109 0 1
Vanderbilt Rushing
Player Carries Yds Avg TDs
R. Davis 26 129 5.0 1
M. Wright 11 126 11.5 1
P. Smith 5 5 1.0 0
J. McGowan 2 4 2.0 0
Kentucky Rushing
Player Carries Yds Avg TDs
C. Rodriguez Jr. 18 162 9.0 2
J. McClain 6 55 9.2 0
T. Robinson 1 12 12.0 0
W. Levis 6 -16 -2.7 0
Vanderbilt Receiving
Player Rec Yds Avg TDs
W. Sheppard 5 88 17.6 1
Q. Skinner Jr. 3 55 18.3 0
B. Bresnahan 2 26 13.0 0
P. Smith 1 14 14.0 0
R. Davis 1 1 1.0 0
Kentucky Receiving
Player Rec Yds Avg TDs
T. Robinson 5 49 9.8 0
D. Key 1 29 29.0 0
D. Crowdus 1 15 15.0 0
J. Kattus 2 10 5.0 0
J. McClain 1 7 7.0 0
B. Brown 1 -1 -1.0 0
Vanderbilt Interceptions
Player Int Yards
C. Taylor 1 0
Kentucky Interceptions
Player Int Yards
K. Smith 1 0
Vanderbilt Punting
Player Punts Yards Avg
M. Hayball 1 39 39.0
Kentucky Punting
Player Punts Yards Avg
W. Berry 2 70 35.0
Vanderbilt Punt Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
Kentucky Punt Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
Vanderbilt Kick Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
J. McGowan 2 47 23.5
Kentucky Kick Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
B. Brown 3 56 18.7
Vanderbilt Missed FG
Player Length
Kentucky Missed FG
Player Length
M. Ruffolo 37




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