After the Kentucky Wildcats’ offense lost Benny Snell Jr. and CJ Conrad to the NFL this summer, no one expected Kentucky to return a rushing attack nearly significant as last season’s.
However, followers of Kentucky did expect major growth from second-year quarterback Terry Wilson. While that looked to be the case early on, a lower leg injury sidelined Wilson for the season and brought on utter turmoil for both sides of the football.
Between juggling graduate transfer Sawyer Smith and wide receiver-turned QB Lynn Bowden as signal callers, Kentucky’s offense has had little to no flow since Wilson’s injury. There have been big plays made, mostly by the legs of Bowden, but hardly any movement of the football through the air. Teams loading the box on Kentucky have had much success, leading to the Wildcats’ defense playing too many minutes per game.
But this weekend, Kentucky may just land the turnaround they need to finish the season with bowl opportunities. Head coach Mark Stoops and his Wildcats will wrap up their 2019 slate with a game this weekend at Vanderbilt, followed by home games vs. Middle Tennessee and Louisville.
Can they get the offense back on track and finish the season strong?
Other than pulling off a shocking victory against then-ranked Missouri, the Vanderbilt Commodores have had a lost season. Their two wins have come via a combined 13 points while their seven defeats have hung an average loss of 27.4 points. Most recently, the Commodores were blown out at The Swamp by the Florida Gators in a 56-0 route.
So will Kentucky have the same success as seven other teams this season?
It’s likely so, considering Kentucky’s embarrassing loss last weekend at home vs. Tennessee and their ambition to wipe that memory away. Kentucky’s rushing attack should set up a few home run plays to put points on the board, which will most-likely be the difference in this game.
Of course, Kentucky can always commit unnecessary errors but (considering their situation) it’s doubtful they come into Nashville and aren’t locked in.
- Kentucky is 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games.
- The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Kentucky’s last 6 games.
- Kentucky is 2-5 SU in their last 7 games.
- Kentucky is 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games against Vanderbilt.
- Kentucky is 4-1 SU in their last 5 games against Vanderbilt.
- The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Kentucky’s last 5 games this season.
- The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Kentucky’s last 6 games against an opponent in the Southeast conference.
- Kentucky is 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games played in November.
- Kentucky is 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games played in week 12.
- Kentucky is 2-5 SU in their last 7 games played on a Saturday.
- Vanderbilt is 1-9 ATS in their last 10 games.
- The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Vanderbilt’s last 6 games.
- Vanderbilt is 2-8 SU in their last 10 games.
- The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Vanderbilt’s last 7 games against Kentucky.
- Vanderbilt is 1-8 ATS in their last 9 games this season.
- Vanderbilt is 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games against an opponent in the Southeast conference.
- The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Vanderbilt’s last 5 games played in November.
- The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Vanderbilt’s last 6 games played in week 12.
- Vanderbilt is 1-4 SU in their last 5 games played on a Saturday.
OddsShark is predicting a 31-11 victory by Kentucky, with the Wildcats covering the 10-point spread and sending the game total OVER.
ESPN’s Football Power Index is giving the Wildcats a 78.2% chance of victory, according to their matchup predictor. ESPN also has the current spread at 10 points in favor of Kentucky and an official game total of 42 points.
TeamRankings projects a 27-17 win for the Wildcats, while numberFire is going with a 28-15 victory for Kentucky.
Pete Fiutak of College Football News is predicting a final score of 23-13 in favor of the Wildcats.
Rob McVey of Athlon Sports is almost identical with his expectation, on record with a final score of 24-13.
Lynn Bowden has single-handedly taken down teams since Sawyer Smith went down with an injury. This weekend, look for Bowden to be the driving force of another grinding win. Kentucky is playing to beat their state-border opponent and finish the season positively for a bowl opportunity. Vanderbilt, however, lost their season weeks ago and doesn’t have much to play for. Straight up, the Wildcats are the play.
Final Score: Kentucky 26, Vanderbilt 17