SHANE SHACKLEFORD: Big Blue Wall Paves Way To Emotional Win Over Vandy

Kentucky honored assistant coach John Schlarman, who died Thursday, by wearing a black sticker on their helmets with the initials “JS” in white letters during Saturday's game against Vanderbilt. Senior offensive tackle Landon Young wore jersey number 65, Schlarman’s number at UK. (SEC Photo)

On an emotional day at Kroger Field Saturday, the Kentucky Wildcats paid tribute to their late offensive line coach John Schlarman the best way they knew how by dominating the Vanderbilt Commodores at the line of scrimmage in a 38-35 victory.

After a moment of silence for Schlarman, the Kentucky offense took a delay of game, leaving Schlarman’s left guard position open, and Vanderbilt declined the penalty. Senior left tackle Landon Young paid tribute to his position coach’s memory by wearing his number 65 in the contest.

The Cats (3-4) had success through the air and on the ground. The Cats offensive line, which has 115 starts together, dominated the line of scrimmage, blowing open holes in the rushing game and allowing quarterback Terry Wilson to use his arm and legs to pick up chunks of yardage against the Vanderbilt defense.

Wilson had perhaps his best game of the season, passing for 110 yards and rushing for 83 more yards after missing the last game against Georgia due to injury. For the game, Kentucky had 458 yards of total offense.

The UK running game had a nice afternoon, rushing for 308. Sophomore back Chris Rodriguez led the team with 149 yards, 74 of which on a long touchdown run that iced the win for the Cats.

But the day was about honoring the memory of Schlarman, the architect of the “Big Blue Wall”. The Cats offensive line did that the best way they knew how; pave the way for the team to achieve victory.

Vanderbilt is now 0-6.

Up next for UK is a trip to Tuscaloosa next Saturday to face the nation’s No. 1 team, Alabama. Game time is set for 4 pm and will be televised by the SEC Network

Shane Shackleford is a regional sports columnist from Speedwell, Tenn. You can follow him on Facebook, Twitter as well as local media outlets The Corbin Times-Tribune, London Sentinel-Echo, A Sea of Blue, Magazine, and Wildcat Sports Talk.

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