The Kentucky Wildcats are coming off of a two game losing streak where they were bullied around at the lines of scrimmage and the offense was almost non-existent. The Georgia outcome was expected and understandable. What happened last week at Mississippi State was not.
Mark Stoops was loud and clear with his displeasure with the way his team played last Saturday. Mark Stoops can accept a loss as long as his team plays tough and hard. His team did neither in Starkville.
Now they face a Tennessee Volunteer team that is much better than anticipated. I wouldn’t call them “good” but they can move the football and put up points. Transfer quarterback Hendon Hooker has been the catalyst for the offensive awakening under first year head coach Josh Heupel.
Kentucky’s defense was dinked and dunked to death by Will Rogers last week and I worry that the same thing could happen tonight. Hooker isn’t quite as good as Rogers, but he has some weapons that could make Kentucky play, including his own feet.
Marquan “Bully” McCall seems to be set for his return today and that would be a massive help. The Cats haven’t been able to get much push at the point of attack on defense ever since he went down with an injury later followed by Octavius Oxendine. Josh Paschal has been doing his job but he hasn’t had much help.
The rushing offense has been a point of worry as well with the Big Blue Wall not being much of a wall. Christopher Rodriguez has been in a slump due to either an injury or an off the field type issue. If Kentucky cannot run the football, they’re in trouble and that’s been evident in the last couple of games.
10-2 would be a special year for this program and, after starting the season 6-0, came to be an expectation for many fans. A win today would almost guarantee that as the next two weeks against Vanderbilt and New Mexico State are almost BYE weeks. The Louisville game at the end of the season would put a bow on a New Year's Six game and the Cardinals could implode if they lose tonight against Clemson.
It’s all teed up for the Cats in a massive sold out night game at home.
Tweets of the Day
Can’t wait to see everyone tomorrow— BullyBall Mccall5⃣0⃣ (@MccallMarquan) November 5, 2021
It certainly seems as if Bully is playing tonight.
Well, this does not scream “ready for prime time against Duke at Madison Square Garden in four days,” but it could’ve been worse? pic.twitter.com/O7s0ZXKqEe— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_ATH) November 6, 2021
The Cats defense has been an absolute mess and, outside of Oscar Tshibwe, the post play is a big worry.
Taj Harris is transferring to Kentucky | Cats Illustrated- Great news for the football team to get this Saturday started. The former Syracuse wide receiver was also considering Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Texas A&M and Auburn. The coaches are really making a push for playmakers and this is a nice pick up.
Three takeaways from the final exhibition | Cats Pause- Not the tuneup performance you wanted to see before taking on Duke in Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night but it is what it is. Win and an early November scrimmage won’t matter. Lose and look bad and an early November scrimmage could be a warning sign for the early going.
Kentucky vs. Tennessee primer | SDS- It’s Kentucky -1.5 in a pick ‘em and many are starting to pick the Vols and their offense to be on top in the end.
Kentucky seeking to get back on track against the rival Volunteers | UK Athletics- Multiple positions are looking to get back on track this week.
Sahvir Wheeler was a menace on defense | Vaughts Views- Wheeler and the other guards, along with Jacob Toppin, were bright spots last night. Kentucky’s lack of physicality in the post was a glaring issue last night and Paolo Banchero is looming.
By the numbers: Cats vs. the Vols | Rocky Top Talk- This is almost too close to call. The numbers are so damn similar between these two teams.
Storylines for Kentucky vs Tennessee | WDRB- This is a chance for Kentucky to beat Tennessee in consecutive seasons since 1976-1977.
Betting lines and odds for Week 10 | CBS- Not a truly great slate today but some interesting matchups for sure.
OBJ and the Browns reach a settlement as the wide receiver is out of Cleveland | ESPN- It’s a similar situation as when he was with the Giants. OBJ’s production has been non-existent since he came to Cleveland and he doesn’t look like a receiver ready to bounce back anytime soon. Buyer beware.
College football upset alert | Sporting News- Is A&M prime for a second upset this season? And Mississippi State is gaining momentum and could carry that over with a win over Arkansas.
Fact checking Aaron Rodgers | USA Today- Aaron Rodgers was one of the most beloved players in the NFL due to his winning and his many, many endorsements. But between the way he handle the offseason with the Packers and now this, he’s become a villain in the NFL. Quite the turn.
I’ll be back on the radio along with Jason Ence tonight after the Cats and Vols goes final. The Kentucky Fish and Wildlife UK Postgame Show will also feature Mark Stoops’ pressure along with your calls and texts!