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November 10, 2007

Mistakes doom Vandy again

NASHVILLE, Tenn.-Vanderbilt's Mackenzi Adams threw for two touchdowns, ran for one more and set career-highs in several statistical categories. But critical mistakes by the Commodores prevented Vanderbilt from getting that elusive sixth win and becoming bowl-eligible for the first time since 1982, as Kentucky defeated the Commodores 27-20 at Vanderbilt Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Adams completed 20 of 31 passes for 193 yards-all career highs-and converted three fourth downs on the game's final drive to lead VU to the Kentucky 15 for a potential tying score. But with the Commodores out of time outs, Adams took a sack on a second-and-1 play, forcing the Commodores to down the ball on third down.

Adams' pass to the end zone on the following play fell incomplete, leaving the Commodores' season stuck in neutral at 5-5 with two games to play.

Vanderbilt also cost itself dearly on special teams. Bryant Hahnfeldt missed two field goals and an extra point, Sean Walker fumbled on an ill-advised attempt to field a bouncing punt return, and the Commodores allowed UK's Keenan Burton to return a kickoff to the UK 49 late in the game, setting up the Wildcats' winning drive.

The 'Cats broke open a 13-all tie at half when Maurice Grinter scored on a 1-yard run on the half's first dirive. But Adams scored on a 7-yard run with 7:31 to play, and Hahnfeldt's extra point tied the score at 21.

Following Burton's return on the ensuing kickoff, UK's Andre' Woodson completed a pass to the VU 4 on a first-and 10 from the VU 40. Three plays later, Derrick Locke ran over from a yard to put UK back ahead.

Adams converted three fourth-down throws to lead VU deep into UK territory on the final drive, but Vandy couldn't convert.

Kentucky's Lones Seiber tied the game just before half, connecting on a career-long 48-yard field goal with four seconds remaining. The Commodores got a pair of first-half scoring passes from Adams-one to Walker and another to Jake Bradford-but VU's Hahnfeldt, who'd earlier missed a field goal, also missed an extra point on the second touchdown.

Vandy out-gained the potent Wildcat offense 432 yards to 351, and rushed for 239 yards on the day.

Vanderbilt faces Tennessee on the road next week, followed by a home contest against Wake Forest in Nashville to end the regular season. A win over either foe would guarantee VU's first .500 or better season in 25 years, thereby qualifying them for a bowl game invitation.


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