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Kentucky Football vs Vanderbilt: 5 keys and a prediction

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A win would move UK closer to bowl eligibility. A loss likely cripples their season. No pressure.

South Carolina v Kentucky Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Kentucky Wildcats are looking to even their record to 3-3 when the Vanderbilt Commodores come to Commonwealth Stadium.

The Commodores come into Commonwealth at the same record as the Wildcats, 2-3. This game is a must win for the Cats. If UK does not win this game, it will be nearly impossible to get that sixth win, which will get the Cats into a bowl game. This game will be a good one to watch, I believe. If the Cats are going to win, these five things will be key to doing so.

1. Pack Commonwealth Stadium. If the Cats are going to win, they will need the atmosphere to be exciting. The fans have to come and show their support, just like the South Carolina game. The players need to know that people have not given up on the season after the loss against Alabama, which by the way, was not a bad loss. The fans can do so much to help get this team amped up, rattle the opposing team and make Commonwealth an electric atmosphere to be in.

2. Control the clock. Vanderbilt comes into this game with a nation top-25 nationally ranked defense. The Commodores come into the game only allowing 23.6 points per game through the first five games. The Commodores only allow 409 yards total per game as well. The Commodores are not great at defending the pass, allowing 248 yards per game and allowing 198 yards per game on the ground, running the ball.

3. Get Boom rolling. Junior running back, Stanley "Boom" Williams comes into this game ranked as the number 5 running back in the SEC. Boom has rushed for 586 yards on 67 attempts and two touchdowns this season through the first five games. Boom has been a huge spark for this Wildcat offense since he was a freshman three years ago. Boom needs to have a strong impact on the game, because Stephen Johnson will need to be able to open up the defense throwing the ball. The way Johnson will do that, is if Vanderbilt tries to fill the box to stop the run.

4. Stephen Johnson must bounce back. Johnson will have to rebound from his three-turnover game against Alabama last weekend. Johnson, who took over the starting quarterback position after Drew Barker was injured during the New Mexico State game. Johnson has completed just under 64% of his passes in the first five games. Johnson has passed for 579 yards, three touchdowns and only one interception. I expect the Junior College transfer to have a good game this week.

5. Keep the Commodores under 20. If UK can keep Vandy from scoring over 20 points, I think the Cats will win. They will only be able to score 20-27 points on Saturday vs a very good Commodore defense. As mentioned earlier, Vandy is giving up just under 24 points per game. It's going to be one of those very long defensive games with a lot of 4th downs, but the Cats will need to make sure to hold them to under 20 to grab the win.

I believe we are going to witness a very good game that comes down to the wire. I do believe if the Cats do these five things, they will not only win, but keep the program moving in a positive direction.

My Prediction: Kentucky 21, Vanderbilt 14