That large sigh of relief you hear reverberating around the Bluegrass is due to the Kentucky Wildcats 49-13 victory over the Austin Peay Governors. This secured the sixth win for Mark Stoops’ team and made his ‘Cats bowl eligible for the first time in his tenure.
Was the victory easy? Well, it wasn’t for a quarter, but once Stephen Johnson entered the game and settled down the offense, they scored 49 straight points en route to a convincing feel good win.
But this week they will travel to Louisville to face the Louisville Cardinals and Heisman favorite Lamar Jackson on their home turf. Lucky for Kentucky, there isn’t as much at stake this season as there has been in the previous two meetings. They are coming off of back-to-back heartbreaking losses in which they had their seasons ended.
In 2014 the ‘Cats were 5-5 when they rolled into Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. After dominating large portions of the games thanks to the defense of Bud Dupree and the running of Boom Williams, they fell to backup quarterback Kyle Bolin and DeVante Parker 44-40.
In 2015 they were in a similar position. They were again 5-5 as they welcomed the Cards to Commonwealth Stadium. After maximizing on the mistakes of starting QB Bolin, the ‘Cats stormed out of the gate to a 21-0 lead. Then for a second straight season they were defeated by a backup QB and had their bowl hopes dashed as Lamar Jackson and the Cards outscored Kentucky 38-3 to close the game.
This time the stakes aren't as high as the bowl business has already been decided. The one stat of note is that the ‘Cats are in danger of losing a record sixth straight time in the Governor’s Cup series.
Time, TV, and Odds
When: 12:00 PM on November 26th
Where: Papa John’s Stadium in Louisville, Kentucky
Odds: Louisville opened as a 24.5-point favorite.
It comes as no surprise that Louisville is favored by over three touchdowns, after all, Jackson is the best player in college football and he has a ton of talent surrounding him. But there is an Achilles Heel to that juggernaut offense: an extremely poor offensive line. If Kentucky can get any pressure and partially contain Jackson, then I like their chances.
As far as our offense is concerned, Williams and Benny Snell are both 1,000-yard rushers. A steady dose of them in order to control the clock is just what the doctor ordered to keep Jackson off the field. But Louisville's defense is particularly stout against the run.
Keep checking back all week long for thoughts, analysis, and predictions.