You wouldn't know it due to all the basketball activity this weekend and the run-up to the huge early-season matchup between North Carolina and Kentucky, but this is one of, if not the, biggest football game of Kentucky's season. So let's take a look at this game and see who has the edge.
First off, we are going to compare the offenses statistically. I have not done this before for football, but I do it all the time for basketball. So lets look at a few charts (all statistics courtesy of StatSheet.com):
|Points and Yards||Passing|
|Yards Per Game||314.7||255.7||UK||Passing Completions/game||18.8||11||UK|
|Tds/game||2.9||2.56||UK||Passing Completions Pct||54.7||51.3||UK|
|Passing Yards Per Game||178.9||110.8||UK|
|Kentucky||Vanderbilt||Passing Interceptions per game allowed||1||0.89||VU|
|STAT||Value||Value||Passing Qb Rating||102.1||103.5||VU|
|Rushing Att/game||34.5||36.67||N/A||Passing Sacked/game||1||1.67||UK|
|Rushing Yards Per Game||135.8||144.9||VU||Passing Sacked Yards/game||-6.3||-11.44||UK|
|First, Third and Fourth Down Efficiency||Receiving|
|First Downs Rushing/game||7.6||7.78||VU||Receptions Yards Per Game||178.9||110.8||UK|
|First Downs Passing/game||7.9||4.89||UK||Receptions Tds/game||1||1.11||VU|
|Third Downs Pct||31.8||35||VU|
|Fourth Downs Pct||50||20||UK|
|Sum of advantages for offense:||VU||7||UK||12|
What you see above are several discrete charts which identify various offensive statistics for your examination. I have compared each stat on a per-game basis, identified who has the advantage and then, at the bottom, I total up those advantages for a numeric score. In this case, UK comes out ahead, 12-7
Vanderbilt comes out ahead in the rushing game, but UK comes out ahead big time in the passing game. The 'Dores QB's have a higher rating, but not by very much. UK comes out slightly ahead in third and fourth down conversions.
Defensively, it's a different story, to wit:
|Defense, Penalties, Turnovers and Special Teams|
|Sack Yards/game||-15.3||-19.11||VU||Punt Yards Per Game||42.1||38.6||UK|
|Penalties and Turnovers||FG 0-19 Made||0||1||N/A|
|Kentucky||Vanderbilt||Advantage||FG 0-19 Att||0||1||N/A|
|STAT||Value||Value||FG 20-29 Made||5||0||N/A|
|Penalties/game||5.2||4.56||VU||FG 20-29 Att||7||0||N/A|
|Penalty Yards/game||41.8||40.11||VU||FG 30-39 Made||1||3||N/A|
|Takeaways/game||2.4||2.22||UK||FG 30-39 Att||5||4||N/A|
|Giveaways/game||1.8||1.56||VU||FG 40-49 Made||3||3||N/A|
|Fumbles/game||1.7||1.56||VU||FG 40-49 Att||7||6||N/A|
|Fumbles Lost/game||0.8||0.67||VU||FG 50+ Made||1||0||N/A|
|Fumbles Recovered/game||2.1||1.56||UK||FG 50+ Att||1||0||N/A|
|Punt Return Yards/game||33.5||33.22||UK|
|Kick Returns Yards/game||82.9||73.56||UK|
|Sum of advantages for defense and special teams:||VU||9||UK||6|
What these charts tell us is that Vanderbilt is a better defensive team in every statistic measured. Since both Vandy and Kentucky have played Georgia and Florida, there is no "but if's" to be said about either opponent.
Vandy, of course, is second in the SEC in the least penalties, and they dominate that statistic. It could turn out to be big in this game. UK has better special teams, and better turnover stats, which could also be huge.
In the end, it's VU 16, Kentucky 18. Kentucky has a small edge in the stats, and hopefully, that plus home field advantage will be the difference.