The Kentucky Wildcats (5-5,1-5) will look to make it six victories in the last seven match-ups with the Vanderbilt Commodores (2-7, 1-5) this afternoon at Commonwealth Stadium (12:21 EST kickoff). And as big games go, it does not get any bigger than this. UK certainly does not want to go to Knoxville in two weeks looking to become bowl eligible ... it's much more prudent to take care of that distinction today.
With the Commodores now without their two top running threats (more on that later), Kentucky, playing at home on Senior Day, simply has no excuses. If the 'Cats are at all interested in ending a mildly disappointing season on a high note, today's contest is one they absolutely must win.
The Commodores, on the other hand, will play their hardest to upset the Big Blue apple cart, something they successfully did only two years ago in Lexington in a 31-24 victory over UK.
For the particulars on both Kentucky and Vandy, follow me after the jump:
Quarterback Larry Smith: 6-2, 220 lb junior -- Smith has completed 96 of 194 passes (49.5%) for 1,058 yards, six touchdowns and four interceptions. He's also rushed for 193 yards (359 positive yards) on 82 carries (2.4 yards per carry) and scored two rushing touchdowns.
Smith is a dual-threat quarterback the 'Cats will try to force into throwing the ball.
Running back Wesley Tate: 6-2, 220 lb freshman -- Tate has 34 carries for 121 yards (3.6 ypc) on the year.
The Kentucky game will be Tate's first collegiate start.
Running back Kennard Reeves: 6-0, 205 lb senior -- Reeves has 26 carries for 77 yards (3.0 ypc) on the season.
Warren Norman, the usual starting RB is out (probably for the year) with a dislocated wrist. Back-up RB Zac Stacey is also out (probably for the year); he sustained a head injury versus Florida last week. Norman had rushed for 459 yards (6.0 ypc) and four touchdowns, while Stacey had accumulated 331 rushing yards (5.0 ypc) and three touchdowns. The two were also pass catching threats, combining to make 20 catches for 142 yards on the year. Norman also returned kick-offs: 22 returns for a 25.4 average. Norman averaged 140.9 all-purpose yards per game.
Tight end Branden Barden: 6-5, 250 lb junior -- Barden, the team's leading receiver, has caught 24 passes for 281 yards (11.7 yards per reception) and three touchdowns.
If Barden gets matched up with a UK linebacker, watch out, he can eat up yardage.
Wide receiver John Cole: 5-11, 182 lb sophomore -- The Somerset native has caught 17 passes for 224 yards (13.2 ypr) and one touchdown. Cole has also returned 15 punts for a 7.5 average.
Wide receiver Jonathan Krause: 5-11, 168 lb freshman -- Krause has made 15 receptions for 145 yards (9.7 ypr).
Wide receiver Udom Umoh: 6-0, 180 lb senior -- Umoh, the Commodore's long-ball threat, has made nine catches for 166 yards (18.4 yr) and two touchdowns.
Linebacker Chris Marve: 6-0, 20 lb junior -- In eight games, Marve has 68 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, and 2.5 sacks.
Marve was named 2nd Team All-SEC after the 2009 season. He's listed on the following watch-lists: Nagurski Trophy, Butkus Award, and Lombardi Award.
Linebacker John Stokes: 6-5, 235 lb senior -- Stokes has 59 tackles and 4.0 tackles for loss.
Safety Sean Richardson: 6-2, 215 lb junior -- Richardson has made a team-leading 74 tackles. He also has 6.5 tackles for loss and five pass breakups.
Defensive back Casey Hayward: 6-0, 185 lb junior -- Hayward has 56 tackles, five interceptions and eight pass breakups.
Defensive tackle Rob Lohr 6-4, 235 lb sophomore -- Lohr has 6.5 tackles for loss and a team-high 4.0 sacks.
Defensive end Tim Fugger: 6-4, 25 lb junior -- Fugger ranks fourth nationally with four forced fumbles.
Lost to: Northwestern 23-21; LSU 27-3; UConn 40-21; Georgia 43-0; South Carolina 21-7; Arkansas 49-14; Florida 55-14.
Beat: Ole Miss 28-14; Eastern Michigan 52-6.
Vandy has fumbled the ball 28 times this season, losing seven ... The Commodores have been outscored 45-21 in the first quarter of games this year ... The Vandy quarterback position is on pace to finish the year with less than a 50% completion rate for the third year in a row ... Last year, UK's Derrick Locke ran for a career-high 144 yards in the 24-13 Wildcat win ... Florida held Vandy to only 109 total yards in the 55-14 Gator victory ... In Vandy's 28-14 week three win over Ole Miss, the 'Dores held a 3-0 turnover advantage ... Arkansas' Ryan Mallett passed for 409 yards and three touchdowns in the 49-14 Razorback win over Vandy ... South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia threw for 355 yards and two touchdowns on 31-39 passing ... SC running back Brian Maddox ran for 146 yards (6.1 ypc) in the Gamecocks 21-7 win ... UK leads the all-time series with Vanderbilt 40-38-4 ... In Lexington, the Commodores are 14-21-2 all-time.
Wildcat/Commodore Statistical Comparison (SEC rank in parenthesis)
Points per game: UK 34.4 (3), VU 17.8 (12)
Scoring defense: UK 29.8 (10), VU 30.9 (11)
Total offense: UK 427.7 (4), VU 267.0 (12)
Total defense: UK 341.7 (7), VU 421.3 (12)
Rush offense: UK 149.8 (8), VU 131.9 (10)
Rush defense: UK 176.3 (11), VU 180.1 (12)
Pass offense: UK 277.9 (2), VU 135.1 (12)
Pass defense: UK 165.4 (2), VU 241.2 (10)
Sacks by: UK 14 (11), VU 18 (9)
Sacks against: UK 13 (3), VU 25 (10)
3rd down conversion: UK 44.4% (5), VU 20.7% (12)
Opp's 3rd down conversion: UK 38.7 (9), VU 38.0 (6)
TO margin: UK -4 (11), VU -2 (t9)
Red Zone scores: UK 35-41 (85%, 5th SEC), VU 13-17 (76.5%, t9th SEC)
Red Zone defense: UK 35-36 (97.2% 12th SEC), VU 30-37 (81.1%,7th SEC)
'Cats & 'Dores in the (SEC) Top Ten
Mike Hartline: 2nd in passing average (267.4 yards per game); 3rd in total offense (264.0 ypg).
Randall Cobb: 2nd in receptions per game (6.3); 4th in receiving yards per game (78.3); 7th in touchdowns (11); 5th in punt return average (8.9 yards); 8th in kick-off return average (23.1 yards).
Chris Matthews: 5th in receiving yards per game (71.5).
Ryan Tydlacka: 3rd in punting average (45.2 yards).
Danny Trevathan: 1st in tackles (110, 11.0 pg).
Winston Guy: 10th in tackles (73, 7.3 pg).
John Cole: 7th in punt return average (7.5 yards);1st in all-purpose yards (176.8 per game).
Richard Kent: 9th in punting average (41.7 yards).
Chris Marve: 5th in tackles (68, 8.5 pg)
Sean Richardson: 7th in tackles (74, 8.2 pg).
Casey Hayward: 1st in passes defended (13, eight pass breakups & five interceptions); 1st in interceptions (5).
Tim Fugger: 1st in forced fumbles (4).
** The latest reports suggest UK running back Derrick Locke will suit-up and see action today against Vanderbilt.
Thanks for reading and Go 'Cats!