- Edward Aschoff, ESPN Staff Writer
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Vanderbilt is now one win away from becoming bowl eligible for back-to-back season for the first time in school history, as the Commodores completely dismantled Kentucky 40-0 in front of a very sparse crowd in Lexington, Ky.
Vandy (5-4, 3-3 SEC), which has now won three straight games, wasted no time punching the Wildcats in the mouth with an offensive explosion in the first half. Kentucky (1-9, 0-7) talked all week about being a more physical team on Saturday, but had absolutely no answer for a Commodores offense that scored 27 first-half points and racked up 269 yards of offense before heading into halftime.
Vanderbilt's 27-0 lead at the half is its largest over an SEC opponent since 1969 when the Commodores led Kentucky 35-0.
The Commodores were extremely balanced, churning out 227 rushing yards, with three running backs registering 11 carries or more, and quarterback Jordan Rodgers threw for 220 yards and two touchdowns. Receivers Chris Boyd and Jordan Matthews combined to catch 11 passes for 156 yards and two scores. Zac Stacy, Brian Kimbrow and Wesley Tate each scored a rushing touchdown against a battered Kentucky defense.
For Vandy coach James Franklin, he's showing more and more just how far this Vanderbilt program has come under his watch. This team has risen out of the SEC's cellar to deliver some quality football during Franklin's two-year tenure. The offense had been looking to rediscover the spark it had for most of the season and appears to have found it during its three-game winning streak.
One more win will take this program to new heights.
While everyone is all smiles in Nashville, things are just getting worse and worse for Joker Phillips and Kentucky. The Wildcats have been ravaged by injuries and have had to play a handful of youngsters, but those youngsters just aren't getting it done on the field. They might be getting valuable experience, but a loss like this just shows how behind Kentucky is in this league.
All those empty seats inside Commonwealth Stadium say it all.
Phillips' coaching seat has been hot all year, and now there's little he can do to cool things in Lexington. This team made five straight bowls before last season, and now the Wildcats will be missing out on the postseason for the second straight year. It certainly hasn't helped that the Commodores are just getting better and better, and the Wildcats are looking up at them.
You have to expect changes at Kentucky, but how significant those changes will be is still unknown.
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