Kentucky football hosts Vanderbilt on Saturday in Lexington. Here are your three keys to a Wildcat victory.
By Steve Wright
The SEC has been battered by Covid-19 related cancellations this week but for now the game that sees the Kentucky Wildcats (2-4) take on the Vanderbilt Commodores (0-5) appears to be a go.
Find more offense
The reason that the Wildcats are 2-4 is an offense that hasn’t held up its end of the bargain in winnable games. Kentucky is last in the conference in important areas such as first downs, total offense, and passing offense. This isn’t an offense that is supposed to be electric and splashy – it simply isn’t created to be that way with its focus on running the ball – but the ‘Cats do need to find more production and this game should be one where that can happen. Controlling the clock will matter too – so there is no need to go totally crazy – but it would be nice to see the playbook opened up some after a week off.
A turnover status quo
When Kentucky has been good the turnover margin is positive. When Kentucky has been bad the turnover margin is negative. This isn’t a team with the firepower to offset a negative turnover differential, as can be seen by the fact that the Wildcats are -4 in turnovers in the four losses and +8 in the two wins. In Vandy they face a team that is -8 in the turnover column on the year, the worst number in the league. Keep that ratio as such and a win will happen.
Deal with Covid issues
This is something that is likely to be a key every week for the rest of the season. Kentucky football is currently down to just three offensive staff members and who knows how many of those will still be healthy and out of quarantine by kickoff. That is also true for players, with the entire team being vulnerable right now and any single player likely to be unavailable at a moment’s notice. Coaching around these issues is tough, but Mark Stoops will need to show leadership and direction to navigate his charges to a win with potentially depleted ranks.
Saturday‘s game kicks off at 11:00 AM CT (12:00 PM ET). You can watch this Kentucky football game on the SEC Network.