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Kentucky honors John Schlarman, defeats Vanderbilt after bye week

Kentucky players had a J.S. on their helmets to honor assistant coach John Schlarman who passed...
Kentucky players had a J.S. on their helmets to honor assistant coach John Schlarman who passed away this week as Kentucky played Vanderbilt on November 14, 2020. Photo by Mark Cornelison(Mark Cornelison | Mark Cornelison)
Published: Nov. 14, 2020 at 3:25 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 14, 2020 at 4:36 PM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WYMT) - It was an emotional day for the Kentucky Wildcats with many minds on John Schlarman. The Cats honored Schlarman on the first play of the game, then rolled past Vanderbilt, 38-35 to give them their fifth straight victory over the Commodores.

WATCH: Vandy-UK Postgame

Hear from Mark Stoops and players after Kentucky's emotional 38-35 win over Vanderbilt just a couple days after John Schlarman's death.

Posted by WYMT on Saturday, November 14, 2020

On the first play of the game, the Cats honored John Schlarman by taking a delay of game penalty and leaving his left guard position open. Left tackle Landon Young trotted on to the field after the delay of game wearing No. 65, Schlarman’s number when he wore the Kentucky blue and white.

In the win, Terry Wilson came out on fire after missing the Georgia game with an injured wrist. The senior QB was 13/15 with 110 yards and two touchdowns through the air. Wilson added 83 yards on the ground and a score. In addition, Chris Rodriguez had quite the day on the ground, rushing for 149 yards on just 13 carries, including a career-long 74-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter to put distance between the Cats and 'Dores. Rodriguez has now rushed for more than 100 yards in five of his last 10 games.

Wilson took Kentucky straight down the field on the Cats' first three drives of the game. He capped off the first drive with a 15-yard strike to Justin Rigg, then scampered around the outside for a 32-yard score on the second drive. In the second quarter on the third drive, Wilson found his other tight end, Keaton Upshaw from 21 yards out.

Offensively, the Wildcats pounded Vanderbilt on the ground, rushing for 308 yards on the afternoon.

Despite Terry Wilson’s hot first half, Vanderbilt kept things close. After Kentucky’s first two scoring drives, the Commodores responded with an 8-play, 74-yard drive that resulted in a Ken Seals to Chris Pierce Jr. 34 yard touchdown. Then after Wilson hit Upshaw to make it 21-7, Vanderbilt put together another long drive, this time going 78 yards in 17 plays and eating up six minutes and 44 seconds of game time. Mike Wright found Ben Bresnahan from two yards out to make it 21-14 with 3:40 to go in the first half. Kentucky would get a Chance Poore field goal to make it 24-14 heading into the break.

In the third quarter, Kentucky forced a Commodore three and out. Six plays later, Chris Rodriguez punched it in from three yards out to give Kentucky a 31-14 lead early in the quarter.

Vanderbilt responded the very next drive with another time-consuming drive that cut the lead to 31-21. Mike Wright’s two-yards touchdown run on 4th and 2 capped off a 15-play, 75-yard touchdown that took 7:41.

After trading punts into the fourth quarter, Kentucky got its dagger fittingly from the run game. Chris Rodriguez went a career-long 74 yards to give Kentucky a 38-21 lead with 9:14 left in the game. Vanderbilt added two late touchdowns to make it 38-35.

Mark Stoops also got what he wanted, as Joey Gatewood and Lexington Catholic grad Beau Allen saw the field. Allen went 3/5 for 40 yards in his first collegiate series.

With the win, Kentucky improves to 3-4 on the year, keeping Vanderbilt winless at 0-6. The Wildcats travel to Tuscaloosa on November 21 to take on No. 1 Alabama. The Crimson Tide were idle this week after COVID-19 forced a postponement in their game against LSU. The Cats and Crimson Tide kick-off at 4 p.m. on the SEC Network.

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