The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference
The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference
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Kentucky uses fast start to dispatch Vanderbilt

73 days ago
Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Cornerback Maxwell Hairston had a pair of pick-6s, Ray Davis rushed for 78 yards and two touchdowns and Kentucky beat Vanderbilt 45-28 on Saturday in an SEC opener for both teams.

After starting the season with three home victories over nonconference opponents, Kentucky began its SEC schedule with its first road win. The Wildcats (4-0, 1-0) started strong, scoring three first quarter touchdowns, two on offense as well as a 29-yard pick six by Hairston.

Vanderbilt (2-3, 0-1) has lost three straight.

Vanderbilt began to find its offensive stride late in the first half, putting up 10 points on a pair of six-play drives to send the game to halftime trailing 24-10. Quarterback AJ Swann entered Saturday with 1,062 yards this season to lead the SEC and rank fourth among FBS quarterbacks in both categories, but he was held to 189 yards on 16-of-40 passing Saturday with three interceptions.

Hairston closed out Kentucky's scoring with a 54-yard interception return for his second touchdown of the game with just over four minutes remaining. He's the first player in Kentucky history to return two interceptions for touchdowns in a game.


Kentucky: Davis' two touchdowns were into familiar end zones. He transferred to Kentucky from Vanderbilt after last season, when he ran for over 1,000 yards, and played a key role in the Commodores ending their 26-game SEC losing streak in a road game at Kentucky. In that game, he rushed for 129 yards.

Vanderbilt: The Commodores lost their third-straight game, their first home defeat of the season. After catching two touchdowns in Vanderbilt's first three games of the seasons, senior wide receiver Will Sheppard has been kept out of the end zone in consecutive contests. He caught just two balls for 31 yards on 10 targets Saturday.


Vanderbilt safety Jaylen Mahoney's afternoon lasted just two defensive snaps after he was disqualified for targeting Wildcats receiver Dane Key following a 14-yard reception with 12:30 remaining in the first quarter. Last week, Mahoney was knocked out of Vanderbilt's loss at UNLV with an injured hip.

The Commodores were already without injured safeties De'Rickey Wright (ankle) and Savion Riley (upper body) who did not dress for the game.


Kentucky received 10 votes in this week's AP Top 25 poll and could enter the rankings after Saturday's decisive win extended their undefeated start to the season.


Kentucky: Hosts Florida on Sept. 30.

Vanderbilt: Hosts Missouri on Sept. 30.