VANDERBILT (5-4, 2-4 SEC) Coach: James Franklin Record: 20-15 in third season at Vanderbilt and overall Last game: Vanderbilt 34, Florida 17 Next game: at Tennessee, Nov. 23 Roster | Depth chart
Game Information Site: Vanderbilt Stadium (40,550), Nashville TV: SEC TV (Dave Neal play-by-play, Andre Ware analysis, Cara Capuano sideline) | SEC TV affiliates Radio: UK IMG Sports Network (Tom Leach play-by-play, Jeff Piecoro analysis; Dick Gabriel sideline); Sirius 139/XM 200 Internet:Audio | Video Favorite: Vanderbilt by 12.5
Series Information: Series record: Kentucky leads 41-40-4 At Nashville: Vanderbilt leads 25-19-2 Coaches' records: Stoops 0-0 vs. Vanderbilt; Franklin 2-0 vs. UK
Last meeting Vanderbilt 40, Kentucky 0 (Nov. 3, 2012, in Lexington)
The attendance in the stands and the product on the field sealed Kentucky coach Joker Phillips' fate on a day when the Commodores were in total command. Vanderbilt scored 20 points in the second quarter, led 27-0 at halftime and limited UK to 260 yards of total offense. Commodores quarterback Jordan Rodgers completed 18 of 29 passes for 220 yards and two touchdowns.
Keys to the Game
1. Commodore Dominance: It's hard for two programs to be more evenly matched than Kentucky and Vanderbilt, which would see their all-time series evened up if the Commodores win on Saturday. But recent history tells a different story. Vandy has won the past two meetings by a combined score of 78-8. That comes on the heels of a run of Kentucky dominance. The Wildcats won 12 of 15 before James Franklin took over as Vanderbilt head coach. He's looking for a third straight win against the Cats.
2. Sweet November: Vanderbilt has been the SEC's traditional doormat, but under Franklin, the Commodores have reversed that trend. They're 14-6 in their past 20 games, and Franklin's combined 15 wins in his first two seasons were the most by a Vanderbilt coach since 1904-05. Nowhere is that turnaround more apparent than in November. Vandy is 7-2 under Franklin in November and has won six straight games in the month. Just how significant is that turnaround? In the decade before Franklin arrived, Vanderbilt went 3-32 in November games.
3. Safety Dance: Vanderbilt's best player might be safety Kenny Ladler, a playmaker of whom Kentucky will need to be aware. Ladler leads the SEC in solo tackles with 50. He's also forced four fumbles, tops in the league. His 73 total tackles are seventh among all SEC players. Last week, Ladler contributed five takles and an interception in the Commodores' 34-17 win at Florida.
T.J. Walker, Staff Writer: Vanderbilt 38, Kentucky 13 Unfortunately for UK, it seems like the wheels fell off last week against Missouri. The Cats played a spirited first quarter but couldn't capitalize on Mizzou's mistake and the effort that had kept UK in so many games earlier this season was lost. I'm not sure they bounce back a week later against a team that has everything to play for, and is one of the hottest team's in the SEC. Vandy rolls at home and becomes bowl eligible.
Aaron Smith, staff writer: Vanderbilt 34, Kentucky 24 The offense will continue its weekly growth as Jalen Whitlow gets more and more in rhythm. But the Commodores are like every SEC team UK's faced so far -- more talented -- and will get the same result -- a win.
Justin Rowland, Football Recruiting Analyst: Vanderbilt 31, Kentucky 17 Just a month Vanderbilt was 0-3 and all was back to normal in the SEC. Now Vanderbilt is poised to finish with five wins in their last six games. Statistically the Commodores aren't sexy at all but they're 12-4 in their last 16, tied for best in the SEC East. The biggest difference between Vanderbilt and UK is the Commodores know how to win.
Brett Dawson, Publisher: Vanderbilt 27, Kentucky 13 The Commodores are due a letdown after a stunning blowout at Florida last week, but the Wildcats also figure to be deflated after their slim bowl hopes faded completely in last week's blowout loss to Missouri. This figures to be a flat atmosphere, but the Commodores can lock up bowl eligibility with a win, and though the talent gap is narrow enough that Kentucky could spring an upset, Vandy's motivation and recent dominance in the series are reason enough to believe it won't happen.