It had been 26 straight SEC losses for Vanderbilt, but it finally came to an end in Saturday in Lexington. After scoring with 32 seconds remaining, the Dores defeated Kentucky and sent the Wildcats program into despair.
Commodore fans stormed the field in excitement, giving head coach Clark Lea his first SEC win. Players were seen hugging and crying on the field postgame, as Kentucky fans were reigning boos down on the field. It was a massive game for Vanderbilt quarterback Mike Wright, who finished the game with 184 yards passing and 126 yards on the ground.
As Clark Lea was swarmed on the field by his players, tears were steaming down his face, knowing how big this win was for his program. Entering the game as 19-point underdogs, Vanderbilt presented Kentucky with multiple problems on offense, especially in the running game.
First SEC Win In 1,119 Days For Vanderbilt
This was the first SEC win in 1,119 days for Vanderbilt, so the emotions are certainly warranted for these players and coaches. As for Kentucky, this is a program that has now sunk to a new low, after preseason expectations had them fighting for the SEC East.
If Kentucky thought fans were checked out before, I can promise you Saturday’s result has set the football program back even further. There is no coming back from this one anytime soon.
Here’s Clark Lea following the win, trying to hold back tears of joy:
This win will do wonders for the Vanderbilt program, especially with recruiting. The buy-in from players has been something special to watch. Even when the Wildcats took a late lead, the Dores never gave up.
As for head coach Mark Stoops and Kentucky, the win over Vanderbilt would’ve kicked in an extra year on Stoops contract, guaranteeing him $8.25 million in 2028. But now the Wildcats head coach will have to hope for a win over Georgia or Louisville to enact this clause.
But this day belongs to Vanderbilt, doing something most thought wasn’t in the cards. Now the Dores will ride home to Nashville celebrating, while Kentucky tries to figure out how this season went wrong, so quick.