Kentucky looks to end four-game skid and inch closer to bowl vs. Vanderbilt
Kentucky has had a season which can only be described as all too Kentucky. Starting hot with two conference wins and what looked to be plenty more in sight, the Wildcats have stumbled to a 4-5 record and are on a four-game losing streak.
With the team’s play looking suspect at best and rumors of a locker room divide circulating, the ‘Cats will be hard-pressed to secure bowl eligibility with just three games remaining. Vanderbilt has proven to be a formidable opponent after a solid defensive outing in The Swamp last weekend, and anything can happen when Kentucky and Louisville get together. The Wildcats’ home date with Charlotte looks to be the only guaranteed win.
Kentucky needs to beat Vanderbilt on Saturday to salvage this season and prevent a total collapse. A win against the Commodores would mean the Big Blue Nation will more than likely be going bowling for the first time since Stoops touched down in Lexington.
A third win against an SEC opponent would give the locker room a jolt heading into the home stretch. A healthy locker room is all UK can ask for as we inch closer and closer to the battle of the Commonwealth, the most important game of the year to anyone within the state.
Vanderbilt has proven to be a defensive team first and foremost. This will make for an interesting battle in Nashville as Kentucky has proven to be pretty much the opposite.
Everyone in the Bluegrass State is upset with the number of dropped balls as of late, but the fact of the matter is the team’s strength is its offense, and namely its passing attack.
If Kentucky can find a rhythm and the line can string together enough makeshift protection to give Patrick Towles just a few seconds — it’s allowed 23 sacks, tied for 11th in the SEC — the Wildcats should be able to grind it out.
The defense, conversely, is not terrible as a whole. Where it is terrible is against the run, and mobile quarterbacks have hurt the Wildcats. Luckily, Vanderbilt’s Johnny McCrary isn’t quite on the same level as Joshua Dobbs or Dak Prescott. McCrary has run for just 169 yards on the season, averaging less than three yards per carry.
If Matt Elam, Josh Forrest and company dig in, the ‘Cats should deliver a win that will stop the bleeding.