Kentucky Wildcats vs. LSU Tigers
- Time: 7:30 pm ET
- Location: Kroger Field in Lexington, KY
- TV Channel: SEC Network
- Announcers: Tom Hart, Jordan Rodgers and Cole Cubelic will call the action.
- Live Online Stream: WatchESPN and the ESPN app.
- Radio: UK Sports Network with Tom Leach, Jeff Piecoro and Dick Gabriel on the call.
- Digital Gameday Guide
- Rosters: UK | LSU
- Weather: 70.1 °F with a 1% chance of rain and winds up to 4.7 miles per hour, according to Covers.com.
- Odds: Kentucky opened as a 1-point favorite, and the line is now -2 with an over/under of 50.5, while ESPN’s matchup predictor gives the Cats a 51.9% chance of winning.
- Score Projection: TeamRankings projects a 26-24 victory for Kentucky. Go here for more game predictions.
The undefeated Kentucky Wildcats will host the 3-2 LSU Tigers on Saturday night under the lights at Kroger Field. The game is scheduled to kick off at 7:30 pm ET on the SEC Network.
This will mark UK’s fourth night game of the season and third in a row. This is just another chance for Mark Stoops and his team to shine with more eyes from around the country tuning in.
It’s still tough getting used to things like this, but the Cats are currently listed as a 3.5-point favorite.
Andre Woodson talks about beating No. 1 LSU in Lexington and the @UKCoachStoops effect on @UKFootball #MartyAndMcGee pic.twitter.com/f4OVyOIPJt— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) October 9, 2021
LSU has struggled early on this season and lacks any quality wins. Despite that, it’s still pretty incredible to see a Kentucky football team favored to beat a traditional SEC powerhouse like LSU.
How does Kentucky stay undefeated?
First off, Liam Coen has to get the offense rolling.
After some early spurts of brilliance, Will Levis and the UK offense have sputtered over as of late, scoring just 36 points over their last eight quarters of play.
Despite securing one of the biggest wins in program history on Saturday by beating the Florida Gators, Kentucky’s stagnant performance offensively has created a growing concern moving forward.
If you eliminate Wan’Dale Robinson’s first-quarter 41-yard touchdown scamper against Florida, then the state of the offense really becomes alarming.
Kentucky will also be without the services of another play-making threat, Josh Ali, who’s expected to miss a few weeks.
Missing Ali will be a considerable blow, but LSU is missing several key pieces in the secondary which should provide UK the overall advantage despite the absence of one of their top receiving targets.
Derek Stingley Jr. will miss Saturday’s game after undergoing a procedure on his foot. There is no timetable for his return. Stingley Jr. has a bright future in the NFL with most expecting him to be drafted early in 2022.
LSU starting safety Major Burns will also miss Saturday’s game
Mark Stoops did make a point to mention this week that the Tigers have weapons everywhere on the defensive side of the ball. LSU held Auburn to just 22 points on Saturday despite losing.
After giving up 38 points in their season opener to UCLA, the Tigers defense hasn’t let an opponent score over 25 points in their last four games.
This will be a genuine test for Coen’s offense with the making for a breakout performance.
“It’s clicked at times. We’ve shown flashes in multiple different games, different situations, whether it be red zone or third down. We’ve been very good, and we also haven’t been very good. When it does click, it’s going to be special. Just stay the course. It’s going to click.” Coen told reporters on Tuesday.
When you’re 5-0, it’s all good, but it seems pretty clear that Kentucky cannot stay undefeated if they don’t correct some of the offensive roadblocks that we’ve witnessed over the last several games.
From a defensive perspective, Kentucky will attempt to do what it always does — bully its opponent in the trenches, although they will have to do it without their actual Bully.
Starting nose tackle Marquan “Bully” McCall will be out with an ankle injury. It’ll require guys like former 5-star recruit Justin Rogers to step up in his absence.
The Cats shouldn’t have to worry about stopping the run game as much as usual. LSU has a pitiful rushing attack that’s only amassed 331 rushing yards all year. For comparison, UK’s Chris Rodriguez has run for 612 yards by himself.
LSU’s passing game isn’t necessarily elite but is much better than their poor rushing game.
Sophomore quarterback Max Johnson ranks third in SEC with 1,469 passing yards. He’s also tossed 16 touchdowns, good for second in the SEC trailing only Alabama’s Bryce Young.
Johnson’s primary target is Kayshon Boutte, the best statistical receiver in the league by yardage not named Wan’Dale Robinson. Boutte’s nine receiving touchdowns are more than double any other SEC wide receiver.
If the Cats can contain Boutte and Max Johnson it’s hard to imagine the outcome not being favorable for them.
Bottom line, this is a game that Kentucky can’t look past (I don’t think they will) while waiting on their trip to Athens next week. If anything — a flawlessly executed tune-up game would be ideal before going to take on one of the nation’s top teams.
With a focused approach and limited mental mistakes, UK should be positioned well to secure a victory against Ed Orgeron’s LSU Tigers.