Battle of the cellar dwellers

By Steve LeMaster

A chance for some redemption will come Saturday at Commonwealth Stadium. The University of Kentucky football team will return to the gridiron Saturday against Southeastern Conference (SEC) foe Vanderbilt. Over the weekend, Kentucky (1-8 overall, 0-6 in the SEC) played at home and got off to a slow start, eventually falling to then eighth-ranked Georgia, 62-17. Saturday’s Georgia-Kentucky game was played at Commonwealth Stadium in front of 63,110 people.

Vanderbilt will enter Commonwealth Stadium with a 2-7 overall record (1-5 in the SEC). The Commodores lost at home to Florida over the weekend, falling 34-17.

Vandy reserve quarterback Steven Bright came on Saturday in relief of starter Jay Cutler, who left the game with an injured foot following the first offensive series of the game. Bright rushed 16 times for 77 yards and completed 12-of-23 pass attempts for 118 yards.

Vanderbilt has lost three games by a mere three points, falling to Ole Miss (26-23), Navy (29-26) and Rutgers (37-34). Earlier in the season, Vandy scored a win over Eastern Kentucky University.

Kentucky’s 344 yards of total offense against Georgia was its second-highest of the season, behind a stout offensive performance earlier in the season in a win over Indiana.

Kentucky quarterback Andre Woodson is coming of his best career performance. In the loss to Georgia, Woodson completed 17-of-26 passes for 206 yards and one touchdown. Tailback Rafael Little also had a career day, hauling in a career-high 106 receiving yards and becoming the first UK player since Chris Bernard in 2003 to have 100 yards receiving in a single game.

In what has been a season full of ups and downs (many, many more downs than ups), Kentucky kicker Taylor Begley extended his school-record successful PAT streak to 70 during Saturday’s game against the visiting Bulldogs. Kickoff for Saturday’s Vanderbilt-Kentucky game is 1pm. WKYT-27 will air the game on a delayed basis Saturday night at 11:35pm.

Kentucky wide receiver Tommy Cook has received approval from the NCAA for a sixth year of football eligibility. The last University of Kentucky football player to receive a sixth year of football eligibility was Jimmy Robinson. “I think they (the NCAA) made a great choice and I’m excited about the opportunity to play my sport again,” Cook said. “I want to say thanks to the (UK) medical staff and (compliance director) Sandy Bell for their work in documenting my situation. Without them this wouldn’t be possible. I also want to thank Coach Brooks for wanting me to come back for a sixth year.” Cook has missed the 2004 season because of a knee injury sustained in April during the Blue-White Spring Game. And this isn’t the first injury for Cook in what has been an accomplished football career. He had a broken hand when he reported to Kentucky in 2000.

From 2001-03, Cook played in 34 games, starting 23. In those three seasons Cook caught 63 passes for 796 yards and six touchdowns. He also played key roles on various Kentucky special team units.

“Obviously, this is a win-win situation for Tommy Cook and the University of Kentucky,” Brooks said. “He is an outstanding young man who has graduated and can now work on an advanced degree. He has great leadership qualities as well as playmaking ability. He will be a big boost to the 2005 Kentucky football team.” n