Kentucky starts fast, tops Vanderbilt to remain undefeated


Kentucky’s Maxwell Hairston returned a pair of interceptions for touchdowns as the visiting Wildcats led wire to wire in a 45-28 SEC victory Saturday over Vanderbilt at Nashville, Tenn.

The Wildcats (4-0, 1-0 SEC) jumped out to a 21-0 lead just over 13 minutes into the game and the Commodores never got the lead within single digits after that.

Both quarterbacks struggled in a day marked by sloppy play. Vanderbilt’s AJ Swann was 16 of 40 for 189 yards and three interceptions, while Kentucky’s Devin Leary was 15 of 29 for 205 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.

With Kentucky’s offense struggling to start the second half, the Wildcats’ De’Eryk Jackson intercepted Swann, giving Kentucky possession at the Vanderbilt 11 after a Commodores personal foul.

Davis powered in from 1 yard out, extending the Wildcats lead to 31-13 with 6:44 left in the third quarter.

Hairston returned another errant Swann pass 54 yards for a score with 4:15 left, giving Kentucky its final points.

The Wildcats led 24-10 at half.

Kentucky running back JuTahn McClain dashed 36 yards into the end zone on the Wildcats’ first possession for a 7-0 lead.

On Vandy’s ensuing drive, Kentucky pressured Swann leading to an interception by Harrison and 29-yard return for a TD.

Vandy intercepted Leary on the next drive. But after another Commodores three-and-out, Kentucky’s Davis’s 2-yard scoring run with 1:56 left in the first quarter made it 21-0.

The Wildcats’ Alex Raynor (27 yards) and Vandy’s Jacob Borcila (41) traded field goals, then, the Commodores got their first score on Sedrick Alexander’s 7-yard run with 20 seconds left in the half for a 24-10 lead.

It was an emotionally charged return for Davis who had 17 carries for 78 yards and two scores for Kentucky. He led Vanderbilt with 1,042 yards rushing last season. Davis and Vandy’s CJ Taylor had a confrontation as the teams headed into the tunnel for halftime.

The Commodores (2-3, 0-1), playing without starting safety De’Rickey Wright and starting corner BJ Anderson, lost starting safety Jaylen Mahoney to a targeting ejection 2 1/2 minutes into the game.

Swann exited in the fourth quarter for Vanderbilt holding his right arm after a hit.

–Field Level Media

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