Kentucky Three Keys: Vanderbilt


The Wildcats suffered a heartbreaking loss last time out against Tennessee and will try to rebound against a Vandy team that was thumped 56-0 by Florida a week ago.

By Steve Wright

Here are the three keys:

Control the clock

This is an interesting game. The Wildcats lost last week despite holding the ball for 41 minutes because the passing game accounted for just 25 total yards. This wasn’t good enough against Tennessee, but it might be all that the team needs against Vanderbilt. The Commodores cannot throw the ball downfield and they have failed to complete more than 55% of their passes over the last five weeks.

All of that means that a Wildcat offense directed by Lynn Bowden can win this game. Expect to see the Wildcats rush for over 200 yards – Bowden should do 125+ on his own – as they beat the Commodores by taking advantage of what comes their way.

Open up the passing game a touch

This doesn’t need to be drastic, but 25 yards just isn’t going to cut it at this level unless you are an Army or Navy team built on the triple-option for years. Bowden doesn’t have to be Patrick Mahomes, but against a Vandy D that was torn up by Florida the opportunities should be there for the former high school quarterback to be able to move the ball in chunks through the air. Look for Bowden to get close to 100 yards passing as the offense is a little more experimental this week.

No turnovers

This game is going to be a grind. It is not going to be one to trouble the scoreboard operator as it is going to be low scoring and – more than likely – pretty ugly to watch at times. There are no real bonuses for style points in a game like this though, so the Wildcats have to make sure they win at all costs. The easiest way to do that will be to keep hold of the ball as it is hard to see how Vandy wins this game unless they Commodores get turnover help from the ‘Cats.

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