Welcome to the first game of the second half of Kentucky’s season, where we travel down to the dank swamps of Louisiana to face the Bayou Bengals in Death Valley. This is the place where the crowd was so loud that it registered as an earthquake on the seismograph located in LSU’s Geoscience complex. It is into that environment that Kentucky finds itself tonight at 7:30.
This is a game that most past years, we would pretty much give lip service to and face the reality that we were going to get crushed. But this is not those years, and this is not those teams. This Kentucky team has speed, skill and talent on both sides of the football. What they do not have is experience, but in an environment like what UK will be facing tonight, that might be an advantage.
To win this game, Kentucky must:
Take care of the football — LSU is third in the SEC in turnover margin, and Kentucky has had an uncomfortable propensity to fumble the ball in the backfield.
Turn LSU over — The Wildcats have turned teams over all year. If they can win the turnovers today, they have a chance.
Keep LSU in front of them on defense — LSU always has great athletes, and this season is no exception. If UK lets them get behind the defense, it’s going to be ugly.
Attack the LSU defensive line — LSU is young on the line, and has struggled in run defense. Kentucky will have to take as much advantage of that as possible, and if the Tigers stack the box, they need to get the ball downfield.
Ignore the crowd — The Swamp is likely to be just a warm-up for Death Valley. LSU needs this win, they know Kentucky is dangerous, and the crowd will be into it.
This is a tough spot for Kentucky, but they have a puncher’s chance. Big plays on offense and defense have been Kentucky’s trademark, and if they can get a few against the Tigers and get some confidence, this could be a ballgame in the fourth quarter, and that’s all Kentucky needs to have a chance.