24th Ranked Cats hold off Vanderbilt 27-20

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Andre' Woodson threw for 222 yards, Rafael Little had 70 yards rushing and No. 24 Kentucky beat Vanderbilt 27-20 on Saturday to keep its slim hopes of a berth in the Southeastern Conference title game alive.

The Wildcats (7-3, 3-3 SEC) snapped their two-game losing skid and clinched consecutive seven-win seasons for the first time since 1976-77. Kentucky still plays SEC East rivals Tennessee and Georgia, and has a chance to sneak into the league title game in Atlanta by defeating both.

For the Commodores (5-5, 2-5), their hopes of becoming bowl eligible will have to wait a little longer. Vanderbilt hasn't been to a bowl since the 1982 Hall of Fame Bowl.

Kentucky gave them countless opportunities to break the streak. The Wildcats had a season-high 13 penalties for 123 yards, including a holding call that wiped out a 52-yard reception by Keenan Burton.

The Commodores had eight penalties for 65 yards, and Byrant Hahnfeldt missed two field goals and an extra point for Vanderbilt.

Mackenzi Adams threw for 193 yards and two touchdowns for Vanderbilt, but sailed his final throw on fourth-and-6 over the head of Justin Wheeler in the end zone. Adams was sacked on second down, and Vanderbilt coach Bobby Johnson chose to have Adams spike the ball instead of using its final timeout with 17 seconds remaining.

Earl Bennett had eight catches for 68 yards, and Cassen Jackson-Garrison had 83 yards rushing for the Commodores, who essentially found themselves playing a road game with as Kentucky fans painted Vanderbilt Stadium blue.

Adams had an 8-yard touchdown run for Vanderbilt, tying the game at 20-20.

The Commodores struggled to close out drives with touchdowns and the Wildcats took advantage.

Derrick Locke had a 4-yard touchdown run to provide the winning score with six minutes left.

Maurice Grinter's 1-yard TD capped a 78-yard drive to open the second half and put Kentucky ahead 20-13.

A 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty on Vanderbilt's Broderick Stewart in the final seconds of the first half allowed Lones Seiber to make a 48-yard field goal that tied the game 13-13. Seiber also kicked a 38-yarder.

Adams threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to give Vanderbilt a 7-3 lead, as Kentucky coach Rich Brooks raced down the sidelines trying to call a timeout. Brooks pleaded with officials after the play that the timeout should have been called, drawing a 15-yard personal foul penalty.

The game was sloppy and marred by penalties and injuries.

Vanderbilt running back Jared Hawkins was carted off the field in the third quarter after suffering a blow to the head on a late-hit penalty by Wildcats safety Ashton Cobb. Hawkins was able to walk onto the cart after about five minutes. His status was not immediately announced.

Kentucky running back Rafael Little was sidelined earlier with a leg injury. Little was injured on the opening drive of the second half, and Kentucky announced his return as uncertain.

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