It was ugly, and there were times in the second half that most of us thought we were about to experience yet another disappointment as Kentucky football fans, but UK got the job done and came out victorious over Vanderbilt.
With the 20-13 victory, the Wildcats move to 3-3 on the year, and the bowl hopes many threw out following the embarrassment at the Swamp have quickly edged their way back to light.
Where does UK find three more wins?
Let’s look at the remaining schedule:
Many felt beating MSU before the season started was possible, but viewed it as a tossup scenario where momentum could shift the game either way. Lately, that narrative has changed, albeit for the better.
Over the last several weeks, Mississippi State has been absolutely HORRIBLE.
They got smoked yesterday afternoon against Auburn, and barely scraped by against the University of Massachusetts the week before, 47-35. They’re a well coached team, but the depth isn’t what it used to be, and they have yet to find an identity in the post-Dak Prescott era.
UK hasn’t beaten Mississippi State since 2008, but it’s entirely possible that changes on October 22nd.
Injuries and dismissals piled up for the Tigers before the year started, and many chalked up the game in Columbia on October 29th as a victory for the Wildcats without thinking twice. Missouri is 2-3 this season, and was recently demolished by LSU, 42-7, in the first game of the post-Les Miles era.
That being said, they’ve shown flashes of brilliance and certainly can’t be overlooked. Mizzou quarterback Drew Lock has looked unbelievable, throwing for roughly 350 yards a game, maintains a 146.7 passer rating, and completes 57% of his passes. They have an impressive running back corps and their defense gives up just 23 points a game.
They’re not world beaters, but they won’t be pushovers either. In a hostile environment, this game is winnable for Kentucky, but it’s going to be a tough fight to the finish.
I wrote at the beginning of the season that I thought UK can pull of a victory on November 5th against the Georgia Bulldogs, and I believe this still holds true.
True freshman QB Jacob Eason has lived up to the hype, but Kirby Smart is having a tough transition to the head coaching ranks for the Bulldogs, starting out the season 3-2, just 1-2 in conference play. They squeaked by someone named Nicholls State 26-24, and beat Missouri by just one point in Columbia, 28-27. They’ve looked absolutely mortal.
UK has kept it relatively close over the past several years, they’ll be playing at Commonwealth, and the Kentucky game is sandwiched in between tough match-ups for UGA in Florida and Auburn. If Georgia heads to Lexington assuming a cake walk is in store, they will lose this football game. The Wildcats have the tools to beat the Bulldogs for the first time since 2009.
Injuries have plagued Tennessee here in the last few weeks, and they don’t seem to be getting healthy anytime soon. Aside from health issues, extremely slow starts and miraculous comebacks have been the storyline of the season, but their luck finally ran out in double OT last night against Texas A&M.
That being said, Tennessee is still Tennessee, and knowing our luck, they’ll absolutely dominate in all facets of the game on November 12th. Last year, the Vols destroyed UK at home on Halloween, and as long as they avoid a similar performance, I’ll be happy. Stay healthy, keep it respectable, and continue to show positive momentum going going forward. Pull off the upset, and the entire city of Lexington gets lit on fire.
Never say never, but this one’s a long shot.
The Governors out of Clarksville, Tennessee have yet to win a game this season and look absolutely atrocious. They were destroyed by Neal Brown’s Troy Trojans 57-17 to open the season, and have failed to impress ever since.
If Kentucky loses this game, I will never watch another football game for the rest of my life.
UK will be going up against future Heisman-winning QB Lamar Jackson, and that’s really all that needs to be said. He carved up UK’s defense like a pumpkin last year, and I have a hard time believing he’ll fail to put up similar results this year.
There’s always the rivalry factor, and I think UK’s stable of elite running back talent will be able to make a major impact the game, but it’ll be tough for the Cats to contain Lamar Jackson and come out with a win at PJCS. I will say, though, I believe it’ll be closer than most people are predicting.
Mississippi State and Austin Peay
Georgia and @ Missouri
@ Tennessee and @ Louisville
What’s your route to six?