Welcome to the Kentucky Wildcats vs. ULM Warhawks Open Game Thread. Today’s game is brought to you by the number five — that’s the number of wins that Kentucky will have if the Wildcats defend their home stadium today, and most pre-season prognostications had UK winning five as an outside high number possibility. This could put Kentucky at five wins with six games remaining for a shot at bowl eligibility.
I’ll be in Annapolis, Maryland today for the Navy-VMI game, but I’ll be here in spirit as we have a few hours before the game to check out the Wildcats and keep tabs on the game. If UK can hold serve here, next week should be a very exciting time in the Bluegrass as we embark upon a string of games that provide an opportunity to become bowl eligible for the first time in four years.
Keys for a UK victory
Stop the run — If Kentucky can stop the Warhawks from running the ball, this game could get very easy. Throwing the ball into Kentucky’s improved secondary with and giving Bud Dupree and Za'Darius Smith opportunities to tee off on the ULM quarterback is a place that nobody wants to be.
Stay ahead of the chains — As Will pointed out in his pregame, the Warhawks employ a rather unique defensive scheme that is very good at hiding blitz packages. UK doesn’t want to be behind the chains in this game to keep Patrick Towles from getting knocked around.
Take the ball away — Kentucky has been outstanding this season taking the ball away from foes. It is a big reason why the Wildcats have been so competitive.
Take care of the ball — Towles in particular has had fumblitis lately, so that needs to improve. The best way to make sure he doesn’t cough it up is to stay ahead of the chains and out of obvious passing downs.
Attack ULM on the ground — Kentucky should be able to run the ball on the Warhawks, and with their deep stable of talented backs, expect to see a lot of running plays and a fair number of large gains.
ULM is a team that Kentucky should handle with relative ease, but we all know the perils of not giving our opponents due respect. The ULM defense is no joke, and even if they don’t beat us, they can beat us up if Kentucky does not take care of business, respect their opponent, and play football the right way.