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Oct 28, 2017; Columbia, SC, USA; Vanderbilt Commodores players huddle before taking the field against the South Carolina Gamecocks in the first half at Williams-Brice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

SEC Preview: Vanderbilt Commodores Host Kentucky Wildcats

The Kentucky Wildcats travel to Nashville this weekend to face the Vanderbilt Commodores.

The Wildcats sit at 6-3 on the season 3-3 in conference play. Kentucky lost a heart-breaker last weekend to Ole Miss. The Rebels scored on a last second touchdown to clinch a 37-34 victory.

The Vanderbilt Commodores ended a five game losing streak last weekend with with a 31-17 win over the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers.  This win moved the Commodores to 4-5 on the season. Although, the Commodores are still looking for their first conference win on the season as they sit 0-5 in conference play.

Staying Focused

Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops and Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason both stressed that focus this week would be crucial for pulling out a victory.

For Kentucky, it was a lack of focus that left the Wildcats on the wrong side of the scoreboard last weekend against the Rebels. Miscommunication on the defensive side of the ball led to big plays and touchdowns for the Rebels.

This lack of focus in the back end of the defense is a big area of concern for the Wildcats headed into this weekend’s game against Vanderbilt.

For the Commodores, Derek Mason says picking up their first win since Kansas State in week three has upped his teams spirits in preparation for this weekends game.  This win helped the Commodores get back into the winning mindset that Mason wants his team to be in.

Keys To The Game

Watching the tape for the Kentucky side, Derek Mason says what stands out to him the most is the improved play of Kentucky’s offense this season. Offensively, Kentucky has been led by senior quarterback Stephen Johnson. Johnson has thrown for 1,605 yards on the season and 10 touchdowns.

In conjunction with improved quarterback play, Kentucky has boasted one of the best rushing attacks in the SEC. Sophomore running back Benny Snell Jr. has rushed for 897 yards a 12 touchdowns this season.

While this strong Wildcat rushing attack is a concern for the Commodores, Mark Stoops pointed out that Vanderbilt has the ability to shut down a rushing attack. Last week, the Commodores held the Hilltoppers to -6 yards rushing on 30 attempts.

Mark Stoops says this is something you come to expect from the defensive-minded coach like Derek Mason.

You can find coverage of this weekend’s game on SEC Network. Kick-off is set for 4.

About Anthony Crum

Telecommunications Social Media and Society Major. Avid sports fan, Scott Hanson has my dream job.

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