Following a disappointing come from ahead loss to Tennessee the Kentucky football team has given themselves little wiggle room. In order to make a fourth straight bowl Mark Stoops’ squad must win two of their last three. No doubt it’s a huge game for Kentucky on Saturday. Let’s preview it and give you a score prediction.
A Huge Game For Kentucky On Saturday
A One Dimensional Offense
During last Saturday’s 17-13 loss to Tennessee Kentucky held the ball for 41 minutes rushed for 302 yards, and still lost. The reason was the inability to get the ball in the end zone. Three times in the second half the Cats turned the ball over on downs. The most crucial one came late in the game when Kentucky drove it down inside the five yard line with a chance to win. However, they failed all four times and the Vols held on for the victory. The Tennessee defense knew they weren’t going to throw it and had 10 players crowding the line.
Since taking over for an injured Sawyer Smith Lynn Bowden has now run for 712 yards on the season, ranking him eighth in the SEC. However the former high school quarterback is only 19 of 44 for 213 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
The coaching staff says Smith can play yet except for one snap against Tennessee when Bowden had to sit out he hasn’t seen action. From listening to the staff this week it looks like more of the same.
Scouting The Commodores
For the most part it’s been a forgettable season for Vanderbilt as they currently sit 2-7. Their only wins were 24-18 over Northern Illinois and a 21-14 victory over Missouri. They are coming off a 56-0 dismantling at the hands of Florida. With the down season comes speculation this could be it for Derek Mason. However a lot hinges on what happens in these last three games.
Vanderbilt will have Riley Neal under center when they take on Kentucky Saturday. Neal exited the South Carolina game two weeks ago and missed last week due to a concussion. On the season Neal has thrown for 1,193 yards with six touchdowns and four interceptions.
Behind Neal Ke’Shawn Vaughn leads the rushing attack. With 818 yards Vaughn ranks 4th in the SEC. In addition he’s found the end zone six times. When the Commodores go to the air Kalija Lipscomb is the number one target. The senior has 33 catches for 381 yards and two scores. However he’s only caught two balls in the last two games.
On the other side of the ball linebacker Dmitri Moore leads the way with 71 tackles. In addition another linebacker Andre Mintze has four sacks on the season. Defense has been a calling card under Mason however in 2019 they have yielded over 40 points three times.
The Last Time They Met
A season ago it was a defensive battle between the two schools. A seven yard touchdown run by Benny Snell with 8:04 to go gave the Wildcats a 14-7 lead. From there Josh Allen and the Kentucky defense held on to preserve the win. For the game Snell rushed for 169 yards and the one score.
Saturday’s game marks the 92nd times the two schools have met on the gridiron. Kentucky holds a 45-42 margin with four ties. In addition the Cats have won three straight against Vandy. This coming after the Commodores won three straight and four of five between 2011 and 2015.
Between 1976 and 1981 the Cats won six straight, the longest streak against anyone in the SEC. They tried equaling that mark this season but lost to South Carolina. Between 1896 and 1938 Vandy won 16 straight against Kentucky, though obviously they didn’t play every year back then.
Who Wins On Saturday?
As mentioned at the beginning it’s a huge game for Kentucky on Saturday. Let’s face it the Big Blue Nation could use a pick up at this point. It’s been a rough week for the Wildcat faithful. Following the bad loss to Tennessee on Saturday the top ranked basketball Cats lost 67-64 to Evansville after being a 25 point favorite.
At times having Bowden at quarterback has been successful and others not. He is a special player and it takes one to make the kind of plays he has when the other team knows you aren’t going to throw the ball.
Every other year Kentucky fans head down Interstate 65 turning this into a home game. The Cats need this one to keep their bowl hopes alive. Currently Last Word has Kentucky making the trip back down to Nashville to face Virginia in the Music City Bowl. It will be a close one but True Blue Fans head back north happy.
It’s a huge game for Kentucky on Saturday and we will have your recap here at Last Word On College Football. Thanks for checking out this and all the great content you find every week.