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CATS Honor Schlarman, Oats with Victory over Vanderbilt

Landon Young wearing John Schlarman's #65 - photo by Mark Cornelison - SEC Photo

The Cats wore a black sticker with John Schlarman’s initials in white letters on their helmets as Schlarman’s “Big Blue Wall” paved the way for 308 rushing yards.


Just two days after the tragic death of UK offensive line coach John Schlarman, the Wildcats honored him in their 38-35 victory over the Vanderbilt Commodores. At the beginning of the game, Kentucky lined up with just 10 players on the field and took a delay of game in recognition of Schlarman.

The penalty was declined, and offensive tackle Landon Young ran onto the field wearing No. 65, which is the number Schlarman wore when he played at UK as a four-year starter from 1994-1997.

After the game, UK head football coach Mark Stoops said, “The bottom line is to honor John by playing the way he coached, the way he lived his life. We constantly talked about the tenacity that he had; the toughness that he had.”

Kentucky’s offensive line, the position group Schlarman coached, dominated the line of scrimmage. The Cats tallied an impressive 308 rushing yards to go along with 150 passing yards.

“We will work extremely hard to honor his legacy for many years to come,” Stoops said on Thursday. “The best way (that) we can honor him is (to) go out there and play the very best we can. … We will play hard in his honor.”

And honor him they did; both with the tribute at the beginning of the game and their play throughout it.

The Cats jumped out to a 14-0 lead and led 24-14 at halftime. The Kentucky defense allowed just seven points in the first 26 minutes of the second half, and UK picked up the victory 38-35.

Kentucky’s offense was essentially unstoppable as they scored a TD on five of their first seven drives. Quarterback Terry Wilson was 13-of-15 through the air for 110 yards and two touchdowns. On the ground, Wilson rushed the ball seven times for 83 yards and one touchdown.

Ultimately, the Cats got the victory with the loss of Schlarman weighing heavy on their hearts.

“This game was to honor Coach Schlarman,” Wilson said. “Like I said, I mean, it’s been a tough week for us all. You know, we all have heavy hearts for his family, his wife. We just wanted to go out there and honor him before the game even started really and just show our respect.”

The Cats are also playing in honor of linebacker Chris Oats who is out this season due to a serious medical condition. Throughout the season, different players have worn Oats’ No. 22 in his honor. On Saturday, sophomore running back Chris Rodriguez wore No. 22.

Rodriguez, behind Schlarman’s offensive line, tallied 13 carries for two touchdowns and a career-high 149 yards, which included a 74-yard TD run in the fourth quarter.

Following the game, Wilson said, “I feel like, going into this game, we knew who we were playing for, which was Coach Schlarman and Chris Oats. I feel like the guys were motivated so we just knew we had to go out there and execute.”

Kentucky’s next game is scheduled to be at Alabama on Saturday, Nov. 21. The game will begin at 4:00 p.m. and air on the SEC Network.

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