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4 reasons why Kentucky Wildcats win, and 3 reasons why they'll lose

UK should win this game, but a repeat of last year could easily happen.

NCAA Football: Southern Mississippi at Kentucky Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

It’s finally here!

The Cats are traveling to Southern Miss this weekend to take on the Golden Eagles. This matchup is all too familiar for UK, as they were shocked last year when they lost at home to this very team.

This year, UK needs a different result if they hope to continue moving the program forward. Here are the four reasons why they’ll win along with three reasons why they’ll lose.

UK will win if…

  1. They protect the ball. UK had three huge turnovers in the second half last year against Southern Miss. If UK can be mistake free on Saturday, they should have no problem securing the W.
  2. They establish the running game. Benny is looking to start the year off right! In order to set the tone for the game and the season, he needs to have a strong showing on Saturday. He does that, and it’s game over for the Eagles.
  3. The defense stops the run. With all the questions surrounding the defensive line for UK , it’s time for them to silence the critics. If the Cats can hold off the Eagles on the ground, they’ll win fairly easy.
  4. They bring their A game. Southern Miss is a quality opponent, but UK is simply better. We saw that clear as day in the first half last year, but it takes four quarters to put away teams this good, especially now that UK is the road team. If UK simply comes ready to play for four quarters, they’ll win.

UK will lose if…

  1. Allenzae Staggers comes to play. Last year, Thompson started off slow, but boy did he pick things up. Finishing with over 1,000 receiving yards, UK’s secondary is in for a big challenge. If he starts having his way, it’ll be a long game.
  2. They can’t establish the run. This is the most important factor for the Cats, which is why I’m listing it for both. If UK’s can’t get any ground game going, it’ll affect the whole offensive scheme.
  3. Southern Miss plays harder than them. This sounds simple, but when we look back at last year's game, it was clear Southern Miss just wanted it more than UK. Coming out of the half, the Cats just seemed deflated, while the the Eagles were convinced they were winning. Two fumbles and an interception happened because of lazy plays by the Cats. They have to take this game seriously, if they don’t, we may see a repeat of last year’s game.

I fully expect the Cats to be ready to prove themselves to all the critics with a runaway game against the Eagles to start the year.