If you’re looking for keys to a Kentucky victory, be in the stands before kickoff.
Of all the stats that determine a Wildcat win — rushing yards, tackles for loss, time of possession, yards per passing attempt — the one that matters most is a stat you will not find in the box score. The most important Kentucky football stat is a 50-50 risk.
Kentucky is undefeated when the defense takes the field first. In all three of Kentucky’s losses, the opponent won the coin toss and deferred to the second half.
For Kentucky to start fast, it’s important for the first unit to set the tone. That has not been difficult for the defense. For the offense, that’s another story. Against Texas A&M, Georgia and Tennessee, the UK offense moved the ball well for a few first downs, until a mistake killed the drive. Last week the late first half mistakes were amplified even further when Tennessee got the ball to start the second half.
Starting fast is important against a C-USA opponent. Kentucky needs all the early momentum it can get to take the wind out of Middle Tennessee’s sails. A team that is playing for a conference championship game berth next week, if the Blue Raiders go down early they could sit their starters to make sure they enter the season finale healthy.
It all comes down to one decision by the visitors from Mufreesboro: heads or tails?