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Kentucky vs. Ole Miss: What’s At Stake

The home opener is much more important than usual.

Mississippi v Kentucky Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

After falling short against Auburn, the Kentucky Wildcats are returning to Kroger Field to take on an opponent who doesn’t visit often: the Ole Miss Rebels.

The last time the Rebels came to Lexington was November 4th, 2017, when Kentucky got a lead and blew it in the final minute. I personally attended that game and remember it all too well, as it was only the 2nd game I’d ever been to (the first was far better: 2011 W over Tennessee!).

But back to the present: what’s at stake this week against the Rebels, who are coming off a defensive collapse and an offensive surge against the Florida Gators:

If Kentucky Wins:

  • They’ll be 45-45 under Mark Stoops.
  • It’ll be their 5th win in their last six games.
  • Their all-time record will be 624-627-44, only three games shy of 50-50.
  • They’ll improve to 15-28-1 against the Rebels, and snap a 1-game losing “streak.”
  • They’ll have won 2 of the past 3 contests against Ole Miss.
  • They’ll be 19-9 since the start of the historic 2018 season.
  • They’ll be 13-4 under QB Terry Wilson.
  • They’ll be out of the CBS Bottom 25 (how embarrassing!)
  • They’ll remain in the race for the SEC East

If Kentucky Loses:

  • They’ll remain in the CBS Bottom 25
  • Their SEC East chances will be very, very small
  • They’ll be under more pressure to win the home opener against the Mississippi State Bandwagon in Week 3 to avoid an 0-3 start.
  • They’ll be miles away from the AP Poll and be facing an uphill climb just to make a bowl.

Gains from winning: Big for season outlook, small for resume

Consequences from losing: Very bad. They can’t afford to start 0-2, 0-3, or 1-4.

Hardest-Opponent Scale: 7th hardest on schedule (Auburn was 4th hardest)

The pressure is definitely higher than it was last week, but Ole Miss gave up a fifty-burger to Florida and UK should be able to have their way offensively to cruise to 30+ points. What I’m worried about is if the game becomes a shootout and turnovers cost points late, but with the ‘Cats sturdy D-line, they should be able to take control early and send the road fans home midway through the 4th (gotta beat that traffic if you can’t beat the ‘Cats).

While Kentucky let a chance to make a statement against Auburn slip, they showed their talent level is exactly what we thought it was and that games like this are what they’re built for.

Go Cats!