Louisville Cardinals (2-9) vs. Kentucky Wildcats (8-3)
- Game time: 7:00 pm EST on Saturday, Nov. 24
- Location: Cardinal Stadium
- TV Channel: ESPN2
- Announcers: Kevin Brown and Andre Ware will be on the call.
- Live Online Stream: WatchESPN, the WatchESPN app
- Replay: WatchESPN and SEC Network (check local listings)
- Radio: Tom Leach will have the UK radio network call on 630 AM and 98.1 FM in Lexington. You can listen to an online radio stream via UK Athletics.
- Odds: Kentucky opened as an 18.5-point favorite, and as of Saturday morning, the line is 16.5. The Wildcats are 0-5 against the spread when favored this season but 4-1 overall.
- Prediction: ESPN’s matchup predictor gives Kentucky an 89.1% chance to win. TeamRankings projects a 34-17 Kentucky win, while numberFire went with a 38-13 win for the Cats. Check out our staff picks!
- Rosters: Kentucky | Louisville
- Live Stats
A Tale of Two Cities
In the words of Charles Dickens, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”
While the Wildcats are in the midst of one of the best seasons in school history, the Cardinals are suffering through one of the worst stretches in recent memory. Kentucky will enter the final regular season game of the year with an 8-3 record and heavily favored to win their ninth.
Louisville, on the other hand, will limp into their last game with a record of 2-9. One of their wins, coming against Western Kentucky, was a game that they could have easily lost. They’re also the only team in the ACC that is winless in conference play.
The most obvious difference is on the defensive side of the ball.
On the season, the Wildcats are surrendering just under 17 points per game. Meanwhile, Louisville has been absolutely torched all season long.
Another major difference between these two programs is the volatility between the coaching staffs. Mark Stoops is exceeding expectations in his sixth season and has his team on the cusp of more wins than many fans have witnessed in their lifetime.
On the complete opposite side of the spectrum, Louisville was forced to part ways with Bobby Petrino 2.0 and place an interim head coach tag on Lorenzo Ward, as they look to minimize any further embarrassment from their abysmal 2018 campaign.
Firing Petrino will cost the University of Louisville well over $10 million and tacked on more negative publicity to a school that just can’t seem to move on from turmoil. Player transfers, fan hostility, and complete lack of optimism have been the themes of a brutal season for Louisville.
Every Cards fan in Jefferson County is completely invested on hometown hero, Jeff Brohm, returning to rekindle the glory of football at the newly expanded (and renamed) Cardinal Stadium. I don’t think Brohm is quite the Messiah that he is being made out to be.
But he is by far the best option for Louisville moving forward, although anything is going to be better than Bobby Petrino.
Kentucky ‘should’ dominate
Given the chance, I would absolutely expect UK to to score as many points as they possibly can in Cardinal Stadium. There are a few reasons why, first and foremost, the rivalry game against Louisville is important for Coach Stoops. They don’t have a luncheon dedicated to this game very year for no reason, it’s important.
People deeply care about the outcome of the Governor’s Cup and remember the outcomes for a long time after each game. A huge blowout win against the Cardinals will add yet another feather in Stoops cap.
Another reason you could see a major lopsided score is that Benny Snell is just 207 yards away from breaking Sonny Collins all-time rushing record at UK. I believe there is a chance that Snell could skip the Cats’ bowl game, which would leave only one game to tally the necessary yardage.
I don’t care what the score is. If Benny Snell has a chance at the record do you think Mark Stoops is going to take him out of the game?
Nah. I don’t think anyone would be safe delivering that message to Snell at any point on Saturday night. It would be awesome to se #26 have a career night on his way to the record while on the road at Louisville.
Snell doesn’t have the break away speed that will likely be required to rack up that kind of yardage. But don’t forget that this Cardinal team gave up 542 rushing yards against Georgia Tech on 10/5.
Stoops says looks pretty certain Benny Snell Jr. is toward the end of his UK career. Pretty easy decision at that position. Asked UK rep how many more yards he needs for school rushing record. It’s 207. “We better get going.” (Smiles)— Jeff Drummond (@JDrumUK) November 17, 2018
Terry Wilson is setup well for a break out game himself. The running game should open up the air attack and get the play-makers in space. I predict a long hook up up between Wilson and Bowden is inevitable in this game. Louisville has shown zero ability this year to effectively stop the passing game.
Will the defense get back on track?
It is the last game of the season and the Louisville Cardinals are still undecided on who their quarterback is. Crazy, but true. For the tenth time in twelve games you should expect to see UofL play multiple quarterbacks, rotating between Malik Cunningham and Jawon Pass.
I personally feel bad for the guy who will be tasked with blocking Josh Allen on the edge. “Josh Allen is the key to that defense. He can destroy an offense by himself.” Lorenzo Ward said. It is fair to say that the Kentucky defense has digressed some over the last three games.
With a rivalry game on the road anything is possible, and these two teams have proved that. The first quarter will be important for the Kentucky defense to set the tone and take control. If the Cards were able to connect for a big or two the crowd could come alive and mix things up.
Speaking of the crowd, Kash Daniel was not pleased with the Big Blue Nation’s turn-out for last week’s senior day. I expect that a ton of blue will get in the game this week and hopefully make Kash proud.
Here is what Mark Stoops had to say on Monday about the finally game of the season at Louisville.
“In a rivalry game you can throw the records out the window. We’re worried about ourselves and playing the best football we can and just finishing. I felt like our team played with a sense of urgency this past week that we’re striving for. I really like the way we got out of the gates and started fast and really played with a great sense of urgency. We’re looking to do the same thing here this week. It’s about us and the way we play. We know what they are capable of and how Louisville can play and they’ve shown signs of that this year.” Said Stoops
Normally, I try to stay away from forming any strong opinions for a rivalry game since emotion can play such a big part in the final score. But the Cats should curb stomp the Cards in this one and there is just no other way to put it.