The Vanderbilt Commodores invade Commonwealth Stadium today to try to pick up their third win of the season against the Kentucky Wildcats. Game particulars are as follows, courtesy of UKAthletics.com:
|Vanderbilt @ Kentucky|
|Game Notes|| UK Notes | UK Depth Chart |
|Date & Time||Saturday, Nov. 13 |
|Coverage||TV: SEC Network |
Online Video via ESPN
|Location||Commonwealth Stadium |
For an analysis of this game, please be sure to read Ken's excellent pre-game here. For the Vanderbilt Commodores' view of the game, be sure to visit the excellent SBN Vanderbilt blog, Anchor of Gold.
It goes without saying that 5-5 Kentucky needs this game. It needs it to go back to having a winning record, and to become theoretically bowl eligible. This is an absolute must-win for Kentucky, and if they fail on this one, the season is likely to be considered a failure.
That's a lot of pressure to be under, but Kentucky brought it on themselves. They failed to take advantage of three excellent chances to win SEC football games, and currently are holding out one measly SEC win sporting the weakest strength of schedule in the conference.
I confess, I have lost all hope for the defense. The best thing about this game is that Vanderbilt is last in the SEC in scoring offense, 10th in rushing offense, and again dead last in passing offense. If Kentucky's defense can't keep this team from scoring 20+ points, they don't deserve a bowl trip.
On the other hand, and much more encouragingly, this Kentucky offense is very strong. With the presumed availability of Derrick Locke for the first time in four games, the offense will be at full speed for the first time in a long time. Raymond Sanders has also been upgraded to probable, but with Donald Russell and CoShik Williams turning in strong performances over the last couple of weeks, he may not get that many reps today.
Vanderbilt simply doesn't have the offensive horsepower to outscore the Wildcats, and defending the run is something that Vandy does even worse than UK, if you can imagine that, although to be fair to our opponents, they do play a much tougher schedule. What this translates to is that the Wildcats should be able to run all over the 'Dores, and the biggest weapon the Commodores will have against Kentucky is UK's own propensity to beat themselves with untimely turnovers in the red zone and drive-killing penalties. If the offense executes well, Vanderbilt should not be able to score enough points to win unless the Kentucky defense refuses to take the field.
This is a big game, and even if UK is a favorite, I admit to a few butterflies. We need this to keep our non-losing season streak alive, and potentially our (admittedly minor) bowl streak alive. I know I have been a little less than totally positive, but after the way Kentucky played last game, I am not comfortable with this team even against Vanderbilt. A well-played game could go a long way to restore my confidence.