It’s the Kentucky Wildcats versus the Tennessee Volunteers, a used-to-be football rivalry that still has a lot of passion behind it. I call it a "used-to-be" rivalry because Tennessee has dominated Kentucky over recent decades, and Kentucky has not won in Knoxville since 1984. That’s 30 years, folks.
Having said that, Kentucky is fully capable of winning this football game today. Kentucky and Tennessee are on a similar path of improvement with their new head coaches, Mark Stoops and Butch Davis respectively. Both coaches have recruited well, both have seen major improvement in their teams this season, and both teams are at a very similar place in their development. This game is a close call on paper, with Tennessee’s biggest advantage being the fact they are the home team.
What it will take for Kentucky to win:
Scoring — Kentucky has struggled to score in the last three games, especially on the road. They must put up at least 28 points to win this game.
Special teams — Kentucky has been awful on special teams for the last month. If they are to win today, that must change.
Get off blocks — Kentucky has struggled to get off blocks both in the line, and in the secondary. It’s like they are wearing Velcro uniforms or something. They must get off blocks in order to stop the Vols.
Contain Joshua Dobbs — Containment is critical with a mobile quarterback. The defensive ends must set the edge and remember that keeping Dobbs in the middle of the field is much more important than sacking him.
Run the football — There is no good reason Kentucky should not be able to run the football effectively against Tennessee. The Volunteers are adequate in run defense, but not great and UK has some very good backs.
Use their size on the outside — Blake Bone and Dorian Baker need to be involved in possession-type situations
Kentucky needs a big game out of its offense, and it needs the defense to play much better against the run than they have been. Tennessee is not Georgia, and does not have the kind of power running game that can murder the UK front seven, so they have to act like they can stop the Vols from ripping off huge runs.
This is a game Kentucky can win, and needs to win. Go, ‘Cats!