No. 14 Kentucky seeks third consecutive win vs. Vanderbilt

No. 14 Kentucky seeks third consecutive win vs. Vanderbilt
Vanderbilt quarterback Kyle Shurmur passes against Florida in the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Vanderbilt (3-4, 0-3 SEC) at No. 14 Kentucky (5-1, 3-1 SEC), 7:30 p.m. (ESPN).

Line: Kentucky by 11½.

Series record: Kentucky leads, 44-42-4

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

After letting No. 11 Florida slip away at home last week, Vanderbilt looks to rebound and reach .500 with its first SEC win. Kentucky was off after its overtime loss at Texas A&M and looks to regroup and keep pace with Florida and Georgia in the SEC East. A win ensures a third consecutive .500 SEC finish and bowl eligibility.

KEY MATCHUP

Vanderbilt QB Kyle Shurmur vs. Kentucky’s defense. The senior ranks fifth in SEC passing, having completed nearly 59 percent of his attempts for 1,629 yards and 11 touchdowns against five interceptions. He’ll face the league’s fourth-ranked pass defense (185.5 yards per game), which has posted four sacks in consecutive games and at least one interception the past five.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Vanderbilt: LB Jordan Griffin. The senior ranks second among SEC tacklers with 68, including a season-high 18 in last week’s loss to Florida. The task for him and the Commodores is preventing SEC rushing leader Benny Snell Jr. (699 yards, eight TDs) from chewing up yardage and clock time.

Kentucky: Safety Darius West. The senior has grabbed two of his three interceptions over the past two games. He had 10 tackles at Texas A&M and returned a fumble 40 yards for a touchdown in an all-around effort.

FACTS & FIGURES

Vanderbilt is facing its third consecutive ranked opponent and seeks its first win against a ranked team since beating No. 18 Kansas State in September 2017. … Shurmur surpassed 7,000 yards in total offense last week. … Junior WR Kalija Lipscomb leads the Commodores with 49 catches for 560 yards and six TDs. … Kentucky ranks fourth nationally in scoring defense (13.8 points) and 11th in total defense (304.8). … Snell leads the SEC in rushing yards per game (116.5) despite gaining just 60 at Texas A&M … Kentucky has won the past two meetings against Vandy and the past two at home.

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