The Kentucky Wildcats (6-5) round out their regular season with a clash against rival Louisville (7-4) in the Governor’s Cup, a battle of bowl eligible teams.
By Steve Wright
Here are the three keys:
Stick with what is working
The Wildcats are AVERAGING 431 yards rushing over the last two games. Running all over Vanderbilt two weeks ago was followed by the ‘Cats setting a school record as they rushed for 462 yards against UT Martin. Yes, it is an FCS school, but the rushing game with Lynn Bowden at quarterback this season has been nothing short of spectacular.
Louisville is not good defensively. They allow almost 32 points per game and Kentucky should be able to run on them at will.
Stop Javian Hawkins
While the Louisville defense is struggling to recover from the way it was left under the previous regime, the offense has been much better. The main reason for that turnaround has been running back Javian Hawkins, a player who has rushed for 1,278 yards and seven touchdowns on the season at an impressive clip of 5.8 yards per carry. Hawkins is coming off of an outing against Syracuse where he rushed for 233 yards on 23 carries and the Kentucky defense will need to be ready to slow him down.
Ride the emotion
Rivalry games are always something special. This game has a little more on it because a win here would give Mark Stoops and Kentucky a guaranteed winning record at the end of what has been a very difficult season. The Wildcats need a win over a rival too, as you can win as many games against the UT Martins of the world as you want and few will care.
Kentucky needs to play smart and steady football – running the ball on offense and shutting down Louisville on defense. No penalties. No extracurricular stuff that blows out of proportion. Discipline is the name of the day for a Kentucky win.