Big Blue Preview: Kentucky at Vanderbilt
Info to Know
|Kentucky at Vanderbilt | When: Sat., Sept. 23, 12 p.m. ET | Where: FirstBank Stadium, Nashville, Tenn. | TV: SEC Network | Radio: UK Sports Network|
The University of Kentucky football team begins its Southeastern Conference schedule on the road at Vanderbilt on Sept. 23 at noon ET (11 am CT in Nashville) on SEC Network. The Wildcats will look to win their third straight conference opener to improve to 4-0 in 2023, which would mark the third straight season the Cats have begun the season 4-0. Under head coach Mark Stoops, UK is 5-5 in SEC road openers.
UK is coming off three straight nonconference wins to begin the season, improving its streak of 19 straight regular-season nonconference wins, which is the second-longest active streak in the nation. In fact, UK has won each of the first three games of the season by at least 10 points for the last two seasons for the first time since 1929-30.
Cat Scratches: Ray Davis Hoping for Happy Return to Nashville
The main storyline for this week’s Kentucky-Vanderbilt football game seems obvious – UK running back Ray Davis returning to Nashville to face the team that he played for the last two seasons.
While Davis may be the center of attention, he knows that this game is more about the Cats and the ‘Dores than just him.
“The biggest thing I’ve told a lot of people is, it’s not Ray Davis versus Vanderbilt, it’s Kentucky football versus Vanderbilt,” Davis said. “That’s the kind of mindset I’ve been able to have. I’m just attacking it like a normal game. Not trying to get too high, not trying to get too low.”
Ironically, when the Commodores upset the Cats 24-21 at Kroger Field last season, it was Davis who did much of the damage for VU. Davis rushed 26 times for 129 yards and a touchdown. He also caught a one-yard touchdown pass in the upset win…Read More
• Kentucky leads the all-time series against Vanderbilt, 48-43-4.
• The Wildcats have won three straight meetings in Nashville, however the Commodores lead the all-time series, 27-22-2, in Music City.
• The Cats have won the last six of seven games against VU, despite losing the more recent matchup, 24-21, on Nov. 12, 2022 at Kroger Field in Lexington.
• Kentucky’s roster has six players from the state of Tennessee, including wide receivers Barion Brown (Nashville) and Shamar Porter (Nashville), quarterback Destin Wade (Spring Hill), outside linebacker Keaten Wade (Spring Hill), defensive linemen Tre’vonn Rybka (Dickson) and Edric Simmons (Nashville).
• Kentucky also has one transfer from Vanderbilt in running back Ray Davis, who had 26 carries for 129 yards and one touchdown in the Cats’ loss to the Commodores in 2022.
• Vanderbilt has one player from the state of Kentucky, defensive lineman Michael Spencer (Union).
A UK Win Would …
• Give UK its third straight 4-0 start to the season. It would be only the second time in school history that UK opened three consecutive seasons at 4-0, also 1909-11.
• Give UK its fourth 4-0 start to the season in the head coach Mark Stoops era.
• Give UK its third straight SEC opener win for the first time since 1976-79.
• Extend head coach Mark Stoops’ all-time school records for wins to 70 and SEC wins to 33.
By the Numbers
Consecutive wins for Kentucky against Vanderbilt in Nashville
Consecutive games with a reception for both Barion Brown and Ray Davis
Career SEC wins for UK head field goals for UK’s Alex Raynor, which is tied for sixth nationally among all active FBS players
Career games played by UK kicker Chance Poore, most among all Kentucky players
Career rushing yards for UK running back Ramon Jefferson, leaving him 11 yards short of 3,000 career rushing yards