A Win Saturday Makes Four Straight Bowls
It’s a tradition like no other in the SEC. The week before “Rivalry Saturday” many teams step out of conference to play an FCS school. The Wildcats are no different as they host Tennessee- Martin. However they have a lot to play for as Kentucky goes for bowl eligibility. First let’s look at the main reason why the Cats are closing in on a bowl Lynn Bowden.
An Incredible Season
They say “necessity is the mother of invention.” That’s certainly been the case for Mark Stoops in 2019. Fresh off a 10 win season Terry Wilson looked ready to make even bigger strides in season two. However in the second game of the season he was lost for the year due to a torn patellar tendon. In the next game against Florida Sawyer Smith was also injured. He gutted through the next two contests before Stoops went to unusual measures.
With no other quarterback on the team having any game experience Stoops and offensive coordinator Eddie Gran looked to their top play maker in Bowden. The former high school quarterback and runner-up for Mr. Football in Ohio not only accepted the challenge but has thrived.
During the five games he’s started the Cats are a totally one dimensional team. However that one dimension has been pretty fun to watch. So far Bowden ranks seventh in the SEC with 822 yards rushing averaging almost seven yards per rush. In addition he’s found the end zone five times. scored five touchdowns. Furthermore even though he hasn’t caught a pass in five games he still leads the club in receptions with 30, 11 more than Josh Ali.
His best game came in the win over Missouri with 204 yards rushing and two touchdowns. He’s cracked the century mark in every game except Georgia where he rushed for 99. The junior’s season brings back memories of another dual threat player in Randall Cobb a decade ago. No wonder he is one of the finalists for the Paul Hornung Award.
— Paul Hornung Award (@hornungaward) November 14, 2019
Scouting The Skyhawks
Now that we’ve spent some time talking about how Bowden is leading Kentucky towards bowl eligibility let’s look at the opponent for Saturday. Under coach Jason Simpson the Skyhawks come into Saturday at 7-4. That’s a five game improvement from a season ago. John Bachus III is the man under center. So far in 2019 the red shirt freshman has thrown for 2,392 yards and 18 touchdowns.
Behind Bachus Peyton Logan is their main running back. The junior has rushed for 806 yards this season while finding the end zone six times. Colton Dowell and Terry Williams are the two big pass catching threats. Between the two they have combined for 85 receptions, 1,231 yards and seven touchdowns.
One other interesting thing of note is Tennessee-Martin’s co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Nick Petrino. The son of Bobby Petrino is in his first season after spending several years at Louisville. Of course while he was there Lamar Jackson won the Heisman trophy.
The Last Time They Met
In the 2014 season opener Kentucky drilled the Skyhawks 59-14. The Cats led 52-0 before UTM scored a couple of late touchdowns. Patrick Towles threw for 377 yards and Braylon Heard ran for 117 yards in the rout. Overall Kentucky amassed 656 yards with 422 coming through the air. Don’t expect that kind of passing numbers on Saturday.
As we mentioned in the beginning with his incredible play Lynn Bowden leads Kentucky towards bowl eligibility. Currently we have the Cats playing in the Belk Bowl. His run got them this far and on Saturday they hit the finish line getting that sixth win. Fresh off rushing for 401 yards in a 38-14 win over Vanderbilt don’t look for Kentucky to change anything.
This probably won’t be a 59-14 blowout however Stoops should be able to get many of his young players some snaps. A game like this you get the win and hope to avoid injury.
Kentucky 41- 17
Thanks for checking out this game preview here at Last Word On College Football. We’ll have a recap for you and then look ahead to the Battle For The Governor’s Cup against Louisville.