The Kentucky Wildcats entered Week 3 of the college football season 0-2. Then they went and crushed Mississippi State 24-2, looking more like the Wildcats team we thought would show up against Auburn and Ole Miss.
After losing to a top-10 team in Auburn to start the season, the Wildcats stared their next top-20 opponent down following their first victory of the season.
Traveling to Neyland Stadium to face the Tennessee Volunteers, the Wildcats entered their fourth game as 6.5-point underdogs and having lost 17 straight games in that venue.
But the Cats finally had their Knoxville breakthrough and absolutely crushed Tennessee, entering halftime up 17-7 and eventually scoring an unanswered 17 more points in the second half.
Their performance earned the Wildcats’ head coach Mark Stoop some recognition from a NCAA coaching legend Urban Meyer. Meyer ranked Stoops as his Coach of the Week. Defensive coordinator Brad White also got some love from Meyer.
1. @UKFootball's Mark Stoops— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) October 22, 2020
2. @GamecockFB's Will Muschamp
3. @FSUFootball's Mike Norvell@CoachUrbanMeyer breaks down his top 3 coaches from week 7 ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/KjdqNzF8cq
Both were highly justified, as the Cats defense has been one of the best in America over the last two weeks. They had three interceptions and two touchdowns vs. the Vols. The unit also ended with a pair of sacks and several tackles for loss. Jamin Davis was one of the biggest performers, as he ended with 12 tackles and a touchdown to his name.
The 4-1 turnover difference is what won Kentucky the game. This was their second straight week of allowing under 10 points after Ole Miss put up 42.
With three top-10 opponents still on the schedule, Kentucky’s two losses may keep them from winning the SEC East, but they’ll have plenty of opportunities to make up for them. The Cats will draw the 1-2 Missouri Tigers this week, a team Kentucky has beaten five straight years.
To make it six straight, the defense will have to play at a high level again to slow down a Missouri offense that just rung up 45 points in a win over LSU.