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.