The Kentucky Wildcats got a much-needed bye week last week, but now it’s back to business.
After getting back on track with a win against Mississippi State in their last outing, all while shutting down a surging Bulldogs offense, Kentucky faces their toughest challenge of the 2022 season; the Tennessee Volunteers.
Kentucky travels to Knoxville to face a scorching Vols offense headlined by Hendon Hooker and Jaylin Hyatt, two of the best at their position in the nation.
The theme for the game for Kentucky will be control; Can they control the clock on offense? And can they control the red-hot Tennessee offense?
Mississippi State, coming into their matchup with Kentucky, had two straight blowout victories over Texas A&M and Arkansas in back-to-back weeks. The Bulldogs were averaging 38.5 points per game and 461.3 total yards per game.
Kentucky held the Bulldogs to just 225 yards and 17 points. Mississippi State could only manage 22 yards on the ground and Will Rogers only could muster up 203 yards through the air after throwing for 353.5 yards per game before his trip to Lexington.
Tennessee is averaging 50.1 points per game, the best in the country. Hendon Hooker is currently throwing for 299 yards per game, one shy of a clean 300 per game, and has only thrown one interception on the season.
Jalin Hyatt is already at 12 touchdowns on the season receiving with only 40 catches and 769 yards. Kentucky will need depth in the secondary to contain Hyatt, who has been the best receiver in the NCAA through seven games.
Against Power 5 competition, the Vols are giving up 30.5 points per game on the defensive side of the ball, with the most coming at the hands of Alabama, in that thrilling win in Neyland. The Vols’ defense has forced 12 turnovers this season to Kentucky’s 8 forced.
Tennessee allowed 483.5 yards per game in their four power-five games against Pitt, Florida, LSU and Alabama.
For Kentucky to win or keep this one within striking distance, they need to avoid the shootout and track meet that Tennessee wants to make this and play old school, Mark Stoops football of the past.
So, how do you see this one playing out?