UK BEATS FLORIDA - AP 10-2-2021 1.jpeg
Kentucky quarterback Will Levis, right, hugs running back Chris Rodriguez Jr. (left) after winning an NCAA college football game against Florida in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Clubb)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The No. 16-ranked Kentucky football program will look to take another significant step toward competing for the SEC East Division championship, when it faces LSU Saturday at Kroger Field.

The primetime matchup features a Kentucky team that is fresh off an upset of then No. 10 Florida at home, and an LSU team trying to cling to any semblance of a season after dropping a double-digit fourth-quarter lead in a loss to Auburn last Saturday in Baton Rouge.

Kentucky is expected to win, as a slight favorite. A sellout crowd is expected. A victory would put the program squarely into the national spotlight with a matchup with No. 2 Georgia awaiting next week in Athens.

What you need to know to get ready for this one:

TIME: Saturday, 7:30 p.m., Kroger Field, Lexington.

WHERE TO WATCH: SEC Network (Tom Hart play by play, Jordan Rodgers analyst, Cole Cubelic sideline. WHERE TO LISTEN: UK Network, 840-WHAS AM (Tom Leach play by play, Jeff Piecoro analyst, Dick Gabriel sideline).

THE LINE: Kentucky by 3. Over-under 51

THE LAST MEETING: LSU beat Kentucky 41-3 in Baton Rouge on Oct. 18, 2014.

THE SERIES: LSU leads 40-16-1. Kentucky's last win in the series was a 43-37 triple-overtime victory in Lexington in 2007. It was LSU's last trip to Lexington, and the Tigers went on to win the national championship that season. LSU's last three appearances in Lexington have been settled on the last play of the game.

THE RECORDS: Kentucky is 5-0, seeking to improve to 6-0 for the first time since 1950. LSU is 3-2.

PLAYER TO WATCH (Kentucky): Senior LB Jacquez Jones earned Walter Camp National FBS Defensive Player of the Week honors for his efforts in the win over Florida, which included batting down a pass into the end zone in the closing seconds. The unit ranks 10th nationally and has shown a knack for coming up with critical plays with the game in the balance in the past two weeks. Jones, a transfer from Ole Miss, is second on the team in tackles (33) and pass break-ups (4). He's only the second UK player to earn the Walter Camp honor since 2004. The other was Josh Allen in 2018.

PLAYER TO WATCH (LSU): Sophomore wideout Kayshon Boutte leads the nation in receiving touchdowns with nine this season, and has scored at least one TD in every LSU game. In five games, Boutte has 30 receptions for 436 yards and 9 TDs. In addition to leading the nation in receiving TDs, Boutte also ranks among the SEC leaders in every receiving category. LSU will need his big-play ability against a Kentucky defense ranked No. 10 nationally.

SIDELINE STORYLINES: LSU could go either way. The Tigers are good enough to get up double-digits on a good Auburn team, and dysfunctional enough to lose the game in the fourth quarter. LSU leads the SEC and is No. 3 in the nation with 20 sacks, but the LSU defense ranks only 93rd nationally against the pass. Kentucky transfer QB Will Levis will look to get back on track for the Wildcats. The passing game is the final missing piece to the puzzle of what could develop into a special season in Lexington. Dating back to last season, UK has won seven straight games, the fifth-longest streak in school history. While LSU knows all about winning night games at home, Kentucky has been tough at night at Kroger Field/Commonwealth Stadium. It is 12-2 in its last 14 night games at home.


QUOTEABLE: LSU coach Ed Ogeron on Kentucky – "Coach Stoops has done a tremendous job with his team. On offense, they're pro-style. 29 points per game. They have the leading rusher, they have the leading receiver in the SEC. They have a great run game. Chris Rodriguez is an outstanding runner. Wan'dale Robinson is very dangerous. (Will) Levis is a very capable passer that operates very well in their offense. On defense, they're very stout with a 3-4. They play great technique. They had an outstanding game against Florida. Only 16 points allowed per game. 104 yards rushing, very stout. Got some tremendous players on that team. It's going to be a tremendous challenge for us, going to be a great challenge to go on the road taking on a 5-0 team."

THE PICK: Kentucky 28, LSU 24.

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