LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Vanderbilt will be as challenging as any game the Kentucky football team has played this season.
Not because the Commodores are formidable. They are not. Vandy is 0-5, losing by an average of more than 22 points per game.
This will be challenging because Mark Stoops and the Wildcats must play two days after the tragic death of John Schlarman, the offensive line coach who was loved by his players and fellow coaches.
Stoops pledged that Kentucky would perform at maximum effort Saturday, because that is what Schlarman would expect.
"We’re going to go out and we’re going to honor John," Stoops said.
Here is how to watch the matchup.
1. Time: Noon Saturday; Kroger Field.
2. Where to Watch/Listen: TV — SEC Network (Dave Neal; D.J. Shockey; Dawn Davenport); Radio: UK Sports Network, 840 AM WHAS (Tom Leach; Jeff Piecoro; Dick Gabriel).
3. The Line: Point spread — UK by 18; Over/Under (total points) 42.
4. The Analytics: Jeff Sagarin computer power formula favors UK by 25.16; ESPN Football Power Index puts UK’s win probability at 93.7%.
5. The Last Time: Kentucky has won four straight over Vandy, including a 38-14 win in Nashville last season.
6. The Records: The Wildcats are 2-4, trying to avoid their first three-game losing streak since September 2019. Vandy is 0-5, the only winless team in the Southeastern Conference.
7. Player to Watch (Vanderbilt): The numbers say whatever you want them to say for Ken Seals, Vandy’s true freshman quarterback. He has completed 31 passes in his last two games while throwing for 319 yards against Ole Miss and 336 against Mississippi State. Seals also has fewer touchdown passes (six) than interceptions (eight, the third highest total in the SEC).
8. Players to Watch (Kentucky): A.J. Rose and Christopher Rodriguez. Measured by yards per carry, Vandy has the second-worst run defense in the SEC at 5.3. South Carolina put 289 yards and five rushing touchdowns on the Commodores. Kentucky needs to impose its muscle Saturday.
9. Sideline Storylines: The uncertainty at quarterback — Joey Gatewood or Terry Wilson — after six games screams that Kentucky does not have an answer at the position … facing trips to Alabama and Georgia, if Kentucky does not win this game they might not win another game this season … Vandy coach Derek Mason ranks No. 1 at CoachesHotSeat.com, one spot ahead of the guy the Wildcats will play in their season finale — Will Muschamp of South Carolina.
10. The Quote: Stoops, discussing the benefits of Kentucky having last week off: "Certainly needed some time off for our football team to heal up, to get better, mentally and physically, to get recharged for the home stretch here. We had a good off week. Got some rest early in the week, got healed up a little bit."
11. Social Media:
12. The picks: John Lewis, UK 30-7; Tom Lane, UK 28-17; Aaron Matas, UK 20-10; Eric Crawford, UK 28-7; Rick Bozich, UK 28-10.
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