We’re here, folks, whether you like it or not. Your Kentucky Wildcats are home and ready to take on the Aggies of New Mexico State, and I already need a drink.
Mark Stoops needs his first win of the season now more than ever, as a loss and 0-3 start could potentially become his death sentence as head coach. The time is now to prove his worth as the 18 million dollar man (ugh.)
Best case scenario:
Dorian Baker and Ryan Timmons have yet to catch a pass this season, CJ Conrad has one catch on two targets, and Jojo Kemp has provided little help on the ground as a veteran senior leader. Four guys expected to provide major help on the offensive side of the ball have been practically invisible. This changes on Saturday afternoon.
Baker manages to knock some rust off and catches a touchdown in the corner of the end zone, no substantial drops, and proves to be the best receiver on the team as many in the media made him out to be leading into the season.
Ryan Timmons doesn’t have to make any major highlight plays or even put points on the board, he just needs to move the chains every once and a while and convert on his opportunities on the field.
As Eddie Gran promised following the Florida loss, CJ Conrad’s pass usage goes way up and the middle of the field is instantly opened up for productivity. Gronk spikes may or may not occur.
Though Boom will get the majority of the workload, Jojo will get back to his Jojo ways, rushing for a solid 55 yards on nine or ten carries. Like Timmons, Kemp doesn’t need to be a superstar, we just need to see some productivity.
Against a mediocre-at-best Aggie secondary, Drew Barker plays four quarters of 1st half-SMU ball, throws for 450 yards and five touchdown passes. Boom Williams rushes for 150 yards and two touchdowns. Offense gets it done, Eddie Gran is the man of the hour in post-game interviews.
The UK front seven manages to make a major push up front, make the fundamental tackles, and get off the field on third down. DJ Eliot manages to stay on payroll for another week.
Kentucky wins 55-7.
Worst case scenario:
The Wildcats come out flat again on offense and struggle to move the ball for the first three possessions, Aggies put a dent in the scoreboard first.
Boom Williams manages to get the ball moving, scores to give the Cats a bit of momentum.
Both teams go back and forth throughout the game, the Aggies thriving off of pure heart and the Cats staying alive based off of sheer talent alone.
After New Mexico State pulls ahead by a score in the fourth quarter, the remaining twelve fans in the stands get a “FIRE STOOPS!” chant going loud and strong, and the hot seat Stoops sat on before officially becomes engulfed in flames.
Barker manages to throw a late 25-yard touchdown strike to “Juice” Johnson to take the 24-20 lead, and a strong defensive stand seals the win as the clock hits all zeroes.
Kentucky squeaks by with a 24-20 win, and the entire fan base decides to boycott the South Carolina game.
What I expect:
Probably a mix of the two. UK hits the throttle in the first half, dominates on both sides of the ball to take a massive lead going into halftime, a la Southern Miss.
After coming out flat in the second half, NMSU converts on a field goal attempt and runs in a touchdown to cut the deficit to just two scores.
A fire lights under the Kentucky sideline, and they manage to fight back instead of crumbling, putting up two touchdowns late in the third and into the fourth to cruise to the finish line.
UK manages a good bit of highlight plays to energize the fan base, but a few key mistakes force the media to keep the questions coming for the coaching staff following the game.
Overall the team executes like they need to, but not how we want them to. Confidence builds for South Carolina, but no one is sure beyond that.
Kentucky wins 45-17
Take care of business, compete all four quarters, and throw a “W” in the win column, Cats.