Vanderbilt notched its 6th win of the season by winning 31-24 on the road in Lexington against the UK Wildcats. If not for 2 turnovers, untimely penalties, and two special gaffs, the game would have been a blowout. VU dominated the first half, rarely letting the UK offense on the field and holding them to 3 and outs. UK's 1st first down of the game was on a successful fake punt.
The win makes Vandy Bowl eligible for the first time in 26 years and guarantees at least a .500 record for the first time in the same number of years. I remember this last success well. I was a sophomore for the 1982 season in which we beat UT in the last regular season game for a 8 win season and securing a Hall of Fame bowl bid. I went to the bowl game with several of my friends in which VU lost a close game to Air Force.
Although the SEC has 9 Bowl tie-ins, VU needs 7 wins to lock in a bid in my opinion. It would also secure a better Bowl game. With a miserable UT team coming to Nashville this Saturday, we should get 7 wins if we play hard, protect the ball, and limit our penalties. Our last game is on the road at Wake Forest, a good team. We can win that game if we play with intensity and discipline. VU has a great shot at an 8 win season, and a decent shot at 9 wins if they stay focused and healthy.
Just how good is VU this year? Here are some facts:
* Vandy is 4-3 in SEC play which is the 4th best record in the conference. Only those 4 teams out of 12 have a winning record in SEC play.
* Only Alabama (11-0, 7-0 #1), Florida (9-1, 7-1, #4), and Georgia (9-2, 6-2, #10) have a better conference record.
*Notable teams below VU: LSU, Spurrier's USC Gamecocks, UT (3-7, 1-5), and Auburn. Vandy has wins over USC and Auburn and should knock-off UT this weekend. But they better show up and play hard because UT will.
D.J. Moore, our starting cornerback, and one of the best in the country, had an incredible game. He is multi-talented playing on offensive often and he is our leading kickoff and punt returner. Last night he caught passes for our first two touchdowns, intercepted a pass that lead to a score on the ensuing offensive series, and grabbed another intercepted at the end of the game that killed a game-tying drive by UK and preserved the victory for VU.
D.J. is a semifinalist for the prestigious Thorpe Award. The award is given to the top defensive back in college football.
A healthy Chris Nickson returned as our starting quarterback and looked much like his early season form in which he was 5-0. He too is an amazing athlete who has been sidetracked last year and this year with nagging shoulder injuries.
GO DORES! I will be cheering you on to win #7 on Saturday.