Ugly or not, Cats get needed win over Vanderbilt

By LARRY VAUGHT

When Kentucky opened the season losing to Southern Mississippi, Kentucky coach Mark Stoops  knew the negativity would be coming.

He told his team to stick together and stay the course no matter what.

Well, it might not look all that impressive, but UK has overcome an 0-2 start to even its record at 3-3 after Saturday’s 20-13 win over Vanderbilt.

No, it was  not a pretty second half after UK almost squandered a 17-3 halftime lead. But a win is a win is a win.

Kentucky rushed for 258 yards and rode the power of freshman Benny Snell late in the game again. The defense held Vandy to 141 yards rushing and 141 passing. The defense did not give up a touchdown. Instead, Vanderbilt got that when Boom Williams fumbled the Commodores returned the miscue for a score.

Kentucky quarterback Stephen Johnson ran the ball well, but he was way off with his passing. He had just 49 yards on 10 of 24 passing with one interception.

After an impressive debut against New Mexico State, Johnson has struggled throwing the ball against South Carolina, Alabama and Vanderbilt. That certainly will be an area of focus during a bye week and coach Mark Stoops said after Saturday’s win that he had no update on when Drew Barker, who went out after one series against New Mexico State with a back injury, might be back.

The good news is that the last three games, the defense has been better — even in the loss at Alabama.

And the bottom line is that with this win, Kentucky still can make a case for winning six games and getting to a bowl which seemed a long shot after that opening game loss.

 

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  1. It was an ugly win but a win that we are all more than happy to get. It still probably keeps Stoops on life support. Kudos to the defense for continuing to show it is improving. Stevie Johnson called a nice game and has some good wheels, but his downfield passing is horrific. He showed some good ability in his first game but seems to have lost confidence in his passing ability. I am still surprised that we don’t get Conrad more involved in a short passing game. If it wasn’t for Snell we probably lose the game. Gran’s predictable and execution less 1st down play calling was very sorry. Until Snell started ripping some good runs off, I am only remembering a couple of 1st down plays that went for more than 2 yds.Thanks for the win Cats!

  2. Great win Cats. Thank goodness we have Johnson at QB. On the other hand, he needs work. A lot of work. A very poor throwing motion. Accuracy is very much in question. It may be time to pull Gunnar’s red shirt. We’re kind of stuck with what we’ve got unless Gran is coaching Gunnar up.

    I know it’s the smart thing to do but a prevent defense assumes you have a defense that can pull it off. We don’t; not yet anyway. We’re close but no cigar.

    That said, a win is a win and Snell is a hoss. I mean a hoss! Great recruit. We did something right when we recruited Snell.

  3. Think Jonson is Hinshaw’s responsibility. Very nice to see the OL stepping up as well. Not sure what to think of Mt. Elam..announcer said he had a bad foot…think he needs a little more heart.

  4. The Cats did what they needed to win. It wasn’t pretty, but there really was no let up when things got rocky. These guys are maturing. Growing week by week. Progress!

    GO CATS

  5. A win is a win, I’ll say that, but.UK was very fortunate. There was no effective defense on the last Vandy drive. Vandy came right down the field and into scoring position with 1:28 on the clock and no time outs. UK came close to having this game tied or losing it. No passing attack for UK. All these talented receivers, but no UK QB that can get the ball to them, that is troubling. Vandy had a better passing attack than UK did in the final analysis. If UK don’t start getting some down field passes completed they will limit their chances for wins going forward with the remaining schedule.

  6. UK got the win that it was supposed to get, by 7 points, more than the Vegas 3 point line. For me, that is a good sign, and a step in the right direction for this team and this program Goal 1 for any UK football team should be winning the games it can and should win, like last night.

    The defense has shown measurable improvement from the prior game for the third consecutive game. The offense, that started the season with such promise based on Barker’s arm, has lost its air game. Clearly, the offense misses Barker’s arm, but Johnson is a good runner and makes good decisions in the option game. Furthermore, he is it at QB until Barker can return to the game.

    Next up, Mississippi State with 2 weeks to shore up the passing game, continue to consolidate recent defensive gains, and this UK team can beat Mississippi State at CWS. Take care of business and get that win to move to a winning record on the season, and an all important 4th win. While Austin Peay will provide another win, that leaves one more win needed with 4 tries.

  7. Grumbling fanbase aside, I think that’s 3 straight games where the CATS have covered the spread. Regardless of opponent, if you are out-performing the experts expectations in Vegas I think that has to be a good sign.

    CWS needs to be packed and electric in 2 weeks.

    Go CATS!

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