So, what will it take for Kentucky to avoid a complete meltdown loss to UT-Martin on Saturday? The obvious answer is scoring more points than their opponent. DUH. But if you want to break it down more than that, the simple answer to defeat a 1-AA opponent is on one side of the ball: OFFENSE. Look at the previous 6 times that UT-Martin has played a D-1A school over the last 4 years. What you will find is that the Skyhawks are unlikely to score many points on Saturday.
at Boise State: L 63-14
at Memphis: L 21-6
at Memphis: W 20-17
at Northern Illinois: L 35-7
at Mississippi State: L 55-17
at Tennessee: L 50-0
Only once did UT-Martin break 20 points in a game and they averaged 10.2 ppg overall in those 6 games. Add in to that those 6 opponents were not exactly world beaters and you understand that UK should be able to handle them this weekend. WITH THAT SAID, let’s not forget that just 2 years ago UT-Martin actually pulled off an upset over Memphis, winning 20-17. You might say that Memphis is an embarrassment but I would counter that we are 4-20 over the last 2 years, so right now we are more like Memphis than anybody else in the SEC.
I know I called UT-Martin a cupcake earlier this week but the reality is that UK CAN LOSE THIS GAME. And that Memphis result 2 years ago proves it. Kentucky must take care of the ball first and foremost. Memphis turned the ball over 3 times in that game, including a fumbled punt return with under a minute to go that led to the game winning field goal. They also did not control the ball, allowing the Skyhawks to win the time of possession. Add to that Memphis gave up 185 yards of rushing and you have the triumvirate to allow an upset to happen.
I fully expect Kentucky to win on Saturday. In fact, I would set the spread at -28 for the Cats. But be aware if UK has any kind of the same performance they had last year against WKU, UT-Martin could very well pull off the upset. For reference how UT-Martin pulled off the Memphis upset, here were the highlights from that game.