Saturday, November 10, 2001

Vandy, UK goal: 1st SEC victory




The Associated Press

        NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Vanderbilt coach Woody Widenhofer cleared away all the speculation and worry for his Commodores with one announcement. Now they can focus on Kentucky.

        “We hope to send him out with three victories,” Vanderbilt nose tackle Brett Beard said.

        Before Widenhofer announced Thursday night that he is resigning at the end of the season, talk had centered on whether or not the Commodores (2-6, 0-5 Southeastern Conference) could win enough games to save his job.

        The Commodores are coming off a 71-13 loss to Florida last week, a defeat that clinched the program's 19th consecutive losing season and was the worst for the school since 1945.

        “You can only get beaten up so often and get beaten so many times,” said Widenhofer, who is 15-37 at Vandy in his fifth season and 4-33 in SEC play.

        Kentucky coach Guy Morriss can sympathize as a first-year coach whose Wildcats (1-7, 0-6) have only today's game and a home game against No.6 Tennessee on Nov.17 to get an SEC victory.

        “It will do a lot for these players and this program to get a win,” he said.

        “But at the same time, I would hope that the decision on the future of this staff will not be made solely on this game. We are planning on being here for the long haul.”

        The game is a reprise of last year's Vanderbilt-Kentucky match, when each team was looking for its first SEC victory of the season. Vanderbilt prevailed 24-20.

        The Commodores lead this series 36-33-4, but Kentucky has won four of the past five games. The Wildcats have had some close losses, including last weekend's 17-14 defeat at Mississippi State.

        “It would be easy for people to point fingers and blame others,” said Kentucky defensive tackle Dewayne Robertson. “But no one's doing that. That says a lot for what kind of guys these are.”

        Jared Lorenzen will start for UK for a third straight game. He threw for 385 yards last year as a freshman against Vanderbilt.

        The Commodores have struggled most on defense this season, and they rank 11th in the SEC ahead of only Kentucky. Vandy is allowing an average 479.6 yards a game, 111th among Division I-A teams. Kentucky ranks 113th, giving up 488.9 yards.

       



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