Kentucky running back Chris Rodriguez Jr., (24) powers into the end zone for a touchdown past Vanderbilt linebacker Ethan Barr (32) during the second quarter at Vanderbilt Stadium Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021 in Nashville, Tenn.

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Kentucky rushes past Vanderbilt with dominant first half

Scoring three touchdowns inside the first 4 1/2 minutes of the second quarter, Kentucky raced to a 31-3 halftime lead and coasted to a 34-17 Southeastern Conference win over Vanderbilt on Saturday night in Nashville, Tenn.

The Wildcats improved to 7-3 overall and finished conference play at 5-3. They snapped a three-game losing streak in stress-free fashion, getting 114 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries from Chris Rodriguez. He passed the 1,000-yard mark for the year.

Quarterback Will Levis was efficient, completing 14 of 22 passes for 177 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. The pick occurred on the last play of the first half on a long pass into the end zone.

Kentucky initiated scoring with 6:07 left in the first quarter as Levis hit Wan’Dale Robinson with a 6-yard touchdown pass, capping an 85-yard scoring drive that lasted more than 5 1/2 minutes.

Vanderbilt got on the board on a 48-yard field goal by Joseph Bulovas with 44 seconds left in the period, but the Wildcats wasted little time answering. On the first play of the second quarter, Levis connected with Izaiah Cummings on a 22-yard scoring strike.

Less than two minutes later, safety Jalen Geiger upped Kentucky’s lead to 21-3 when he intercepted Ken Seals and took it 31 yards for a touchdown. Rodriguez made it 28-3 with 10:43 left in the half on a 5-yard scoring jaunt.

Matt Ruffolo capped the first half outburst when he nailed a 25-yard field goal with 3:46 showing in the half, allowing the Wildcats to take a 28-point cushion to intermission.

The Commodores (2-8, 0-6) made it look more respectable in the second half when backup quarterback Michael Wright piloted two long touchdown drives.
Wright found Casey Pierce for an 8-yard scoring strike with 5:53 remaining in the third quarter, then added an 8-yard touchdown pass to Amir Abdur-Rahman at the 7:33 mark of the fourth quarter to finish the scoring.

Wright finished 7 of 11 for 58 yards, while starter Ken Seals hit 12 of 17 attempts for 87 yards.

–Field Level Media

Field Level Media
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