Kentucky offensive line coach John Schlarman died on Thursday after a battle with cancer and two days later, his Wildcats beat Vanderbilt 38-35 to improve to 3-4 this season.
His Big Blue Wall paved the way for 308 rushing yards. Chris Rodriguez rushed for 149 yards and two touchdowns and Terry Wilson added 83 yards and a touchdown. Wilson also threw for 110 yards and a pair of touchdowns to Justin Rigg and Keaton Upshaw.
On the first play of the game, Kentucky took an intentional delay of game penalty with a missing offensive lineman. After Vanderbilt declined the penalty, Landon Young entered the game wearing John Schlarman’s No. 65 jersey.
The Wildcats also honored their coach with helmet stickers with his initials. Schlarman died on Thursday morning after a battle with cancer.
On Kentucky’s opening series, the Wildcats went 75 yards capped by a Terry Wilson touchdown throw to Justin Rigg. It was his first touchdown catch of his career to make it 7-0 Wildcats.
On Kentucky’s next drive, Terry Wilson scored on a 32-yard touchdown run to put UK in front 14-0.
Vanderbilt scored early in the second quarter to make it a 14-7 game, but on Kentucky’s ensuing drive, Terry Wilson hit Keaton Upshaw for the 21-yard touchdown to put the Wildcats in front 21-7.
Vanderbilt scored again before Chance Poore drilled a field goal right before halftime to extend the lead to 24-14.
On Kentucky’s first drive of the second half, Chris Rodriguez scored from three yards out to put Kentucky in front 31-14. He also surpassed 1,000 yards for his career during Saturday’s game.
Later in the third quarter, Mike Wright scored on 4th and Goal for Vanderbilt to cut the lead to 31-21.
In the fourth quarter, Rodriguez broke loose for a 74-yard touchdown run to extend Kentucky’s lead to 38-21.
With under four minutes to go in the game, Mitchell Pryor scored from two yards out to cut UK’s lead to 38-28.
With :30 left, Vanderbilt scored its final points, but it wasn’t enough in a 38-35 loss.