Kentucky–Vanderbilt football rivalry
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The Kentucky–Vanderbilt football rivalry is an American college football rivalry between the Kentucky Wildcats football team of the University of Kentucky and Vanderbilt Commodores football team of Vanderbilt University. The rivalry between these two schools, located about 181 miles (291 km) apart, dates to their first meeting in 1896. They are founding members of the Southeastern Conference (SEC), and are currently members of the SEC's Eastern Division with a total of 92 meetings. This rivalry is Kentucky's second longest behind Tennessee and Vanderbilt's third behind Ole Miss and Tennessee. Kentucky leads the series 46–42–4.
|First meeting||October 10, 1896|
Vanderbilt 6, Kentucky 0
|Latest meeting||November 16, 2019|
Kentucky 38, Vanderbilt 14
|Next meeting||October 17, 2020|
|All-time series||Kentucky, 46–42–4|
|Largest victory||Kentucky, 53–2 (1978)|
|Longest win streak||Vanderbilt, 9 (1896–1918)|
|Current win streak||Kentucky, 4 (2016–present)|
|Locations of Kentucky and Vanderbilt|
38 of the 92 games have been decided by 7 points or less. Kentucky has shut out Vanderbilt 6 times, while Vanderbilt has shut out Kentucky 15 times, 10 of which were from 1896 to 1920. The rivalry is one of the most evenly matched in the SEC, like the Kentucky–Mississippi State football rivalry.
First game (1896)Edit
The first game between Vanderbilt and Kentucky (then known as Kentucky State) was played in Nashville on October 10, 1896. Vanderbilt won the first game, 6–0, with Vanderbilt's captain and fullback, Connel, making a touchdown and kicking the goal after touchdown.
Early dominance by VanderbiltEdit
Vanderbilt dominated the series in the early years of competition. Between 1896 and 1938, the programs played 17 games. Vanderbilt won 16 of those games, the only exception being a scoreless tie in 1919.
In 1921, after being shut out by Vanderbilt in 11 consecutive games, Kentucky scored two touchdowns but lost by a 21–14 score.
Kentucky's first victory (1939)Edit
On October 7, 1939, Kentucky won its first game in the series, defeating Vanderbilt by a 21-13 score before a crowd of 10,000 in Nashville. The Wildcats were led by the passing and running of sophomore Ermal Allen. Kentucky quarterback Joe Shepherd also intercepted a Vanderbilt pass and returned it 70 yards for a touchdown.
Kentucky dominates in the Bryant yearsEdit
In 1946, Bear Bryant took over as Kentucky's head football coach. In his first season, the Wildcats defeated the Commodores by a 10–7 score. Bryant led his team to its second consecutive victory in 1947, this time by a 14–0 score. After a four-year hiatus in the rivalry from 1949 to 1952, the rivalry resumed in 1953 with Kentucky winning by a 40–14 score. Bryant left Kentucky after the 1953 season.
Blanton Collier took over as Kentucky's head coach in 1954. He remained in that position through the 1961 season and compiled a 4–3–1 record against Vanderbilt.
Charlie Bradshaw served as Kentucky's head football coach from 1962 to 1968. During his tenure, the Wildcats compiled a 5–1–1 against the Commodores.
Series record sources: College Football Data Warehouse.
|Kentucky victories||Vanderbilt victories||Tie games|
- College Football Data Warehouse, Kentucky vs Vanderbilt. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
- "Vanderbilt Beats Kentucky in a Close Game". Chattanooga Daily Times. October 11, 1896 – via Newspapers.com.
- "State Holds Commodores To Scoreless Tie in Mud". The Courier Journal. November 2, 1919 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Glories of Old U. of K. Recited". The Courier-Journal. October 15, 1916. p. 1 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Vanderbilt Wins Game From Kentucky Eleven After Fierce Battle". The Courier-Journal. October 16, 1921 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Kentucky Downs Vanderbilt Rival". The Philadelphia Inquirer. October 8, 1939 – via Newspapers.com.
- Kenneth Gregory (October 8, 1939). "Kentucky Conquers Vanderbilt By 21-13". The Messenger (Owensboro, Kentucky). p. 7 – via Newspapers.com.