- Time: 12 pm ET on October 1st, 2022
- Location: Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, MS
- TV Channel: ESPN
- Announcers: Sean McDonough, Todd Blackledge, Molly McGrath and Todd McShay
- Online Stream: WatchESPN, ESPN+, the ESPN app, or you can use a free trial of fubo.tv.
- Radio: Tom Leach and Jeff Piecoro have the UK radio network call on 630AM, 98.1 FM in Lexington, and the UK Sports Network.
- Replay: WatchESPN and SEC Network (check local listings for replay schedule).
- Weather: Sunny skies. High 77F. Winds N at 9-10 mph, per weather.com.
- Rosters: UK | OM
- Stats to Know: UK | OM
- Odds: DraftKings Sportsbook has Ole Miss as a 7-point favorite with ESPN’s matchup predictor favoring the Rebels with a 78.5% chance of winning.
- Score Projection: TeamRankings has the Rebels winning 31-24.
- Game Notes
If you’re a Kentucky football fan Saturday’s game in Oxford is about as big as it gets.
The No. 7 Wildcats will collide with No. 14 Ole Miss at noon ET, and the game can be seen on ESPN.
SEC Nation will be on site and begin broadcasting three hours before game time live on the SEC Network.
Much has been made of the 11 am local time kickoff but most agree that sacrificing a primetime slot ultimately gives the Cats their best chance at pulling off the road upset.
Despite being ranked higher, the challenge of playing on the road has pegged UK as 6.5 underdogs via DraftKings.
It’s unclear just how much weight the oddsmakers are putting in the return of Chris Rodriguez. But there’s no denying that adding an All-SEC caliber running back to the fold should greatly help Kentucky’s chances to improve their record to 5-0.
Until they show up with some continuity for four quarters, the conversation around UK football will remain the shaky play of the offensive line.
Will Levis was sacked five times against Northern Illinois and seemingly pressured all night.
Failing to protect your star quarterback is a great recipe to derail what could be an extremely special season, so figuring that element out has to be priority number one.
UK offensive coordinator made it very clear this week that he’s not intimidated at the idea of his opposition continuing to bring pressure.
“I hope they do. Literally, this offense was built for pressure.” Scangarello lightheartedly said.
You can only expect that the Cats’ 2.4 yards per rush average will improve with C-rod stepping in to bolster some of the workload. Assuming he’s any form of the Chris Rodriquez of the past, it’s all but certain to open up the passing game even more than it has been to this point.
The wide receiver trip of Tayvion Robinson, Barion Brown and Dane Key has proven to be a force to be reckoned with. It’ll be very interesting to see just how Ole Miss chooses to match-up with UK’s speed on the outside.
Ideally establishing the run game will allow for Rich Scangarello to implement some effective play-action sets getting the wide outs in space.
One thing that I personally believe has been a bit overlooked since the Florida game is the fact that Kentucky hasn’t fully opened up their playbook. I’d expect to see some new wrinkles on Saturday.
Through four games, Will Levis has already thrown for nearly 1,200 yards, and that’s with little to no help from the rushing game. So giving him a little support in the backfield could catapult the UK offense to new heights.
Brad White’s defense had been utterly impenetrable during the 2022 season but Saturday’s game against NIU started with the Huskies marching 75 yards down the field for seven points.
All-in-all, it wasn’t a horrendous effort, but the defensive unit did show signs of vulnerability, so it’ll be crucial to see how they respond down in Oxford against a much better opponent.
Unfortunately Kentucky will continue to operate without a key veteran out on the field. JJ Weaver will miss another game after suffering an arm injury two weeks ago against Youngstown State.
When looking at this game at a high level it’s humorous to think about how schemes will be reversed.
In year’s past it was Lane Kiffin who predicated his offense on chucking the ball all over the field while Mark Stoops remained committed to a brute force, snooze-fest run game.
In 2022, it’s now the Cats aiming to air it out with the Rebels likely to ride their duo of running backs.
Kiffin seems to have really found something with his freshman running back Quinshon Judkins.
The 5-foot-11, 220-pounder has carried the ball 70 times for 429 yards and five touchdowns. His 6.1 yard per carry is nearly three times that of Kentucky’s total team average.
Judkins has been taking on more and more of the workload as the season progresses. His last three games he’s carried the ball 10, 19 and most recently, 27 times against Tulsa.
Part of the reason the freshman had that many touches on Saturday was due to an injury his fellow running back suffered.
Zach Evans, another legitimate threat in the Rebel backfield left the game against Tulsa with an injury.
The junior is also over six yards per carry and has scored four TDs himself.
Evans is expected to play against Kentucky.
It would be quite the twist for UK to regain the services of their best running back while Ole Miss has their run game throttled.
We’ll all just have to see how it plays out on Saturday.
The Rebels have big play threats on the outside as well. Thanks to an effective rushing attack Ole Miss has four players with a 30+ yard reception.
Senior wideout Jonathan Mingo, a familiar name in the SEC, leads the team with 257 receiving yards and one score followed by a fellow senior, Malik Heath, who’s caught three touchdown passes on 13 receptions.
Ole Miss QB Jaxson Dart has been described as a gunslinger who isn’t afraid to throw it deep or tuck it and run. Last week against Tulsa the Southern Cal transfer rushed 13 times for an impressive 116 yards, which included a long run of 25 yards.
Bottom line — Kentucky will need to be much sharper on both sides of the ball than we’ve seen in their last two outings. Dealing with a hostile crowd it’ll be critical to focus on execution.
If the Cats are 5-0 come Saturday afternoon it’s officially time to start dreaming big.
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