The Kentucky Wildcats take on the Razorbacks of Arkansas at 7PM tonight in Fayetteville. The 1-5 Cats will be meeting a Hogs team that sits at a highly disappointing 2-4 with wins over lowly Jacksonville State and over a below-average Auburn team. A lot of Kentucky fans looked at this game as a chance for the Cats to get an SEC victory after watching Arkansas struggle through the early part of the season. Today we will look for things UK fans can realistically expect tonight.
- This game is winnable but far from easy. Don’t let the 2-4 record fool you, this is a team with Top 15 talent who has grossly underachieved under John L Smith. They seemed to have made a stride or two against Auburn last week as well.
- Reports from Fayetteville are coming in that the weather may be ugly. It may be a cold, wet, windy kind of day. This may benefit the Cats, Arkansas has a high-powered offense in both phases but they like to throw it a lot. They still have Dennis Johnson and Knile Davis, and Kentucky hasn’t been great against the run, but the Hogs aren’t used to teams loading up the box to stop the run like the UK offense is. It may have no effect at all but the weather could be a wildcard.
- Good news fans. Believe it or not, Kentucky does not have the worst defense in the SEC, Arkansas does. They are ranked dead last in every category except run defense, where they are still only #8. They also just lost their starting MLB, Alonzo Highsmith, for the season. That combined with Jalen Whitlow having another week of starters snaps under his belt may translate to the offense driving a few times.
- More good news. Arkansas has turned the ball over like crazy this season, throwing 8 interceptions and losing 9 fumbles. And that stat could be much worse, the Hogs have actually fumbled an astounding 23 times this season but have gotten some lucky bounces. Hopefully the Cats cold fall on a few and give their offense a short field, but traditionally trends like this reverse against UK.
- Despite a highly disappointing season that is unlikely to end with a bowl bid, Big Blue fans traveling to the game can expect Arkansas fans to come out in full force. Despite suffering the most disappointing season in the country, Arkansas is a traditional SEC school (despite being one of the more recent additions) and fans will be tailgating and attending the game as always.
- Expect the coaches to continue handling Whitlow with kiddie gloves, they don’t want him to be the reason they lose a game. However, with the Arkansas pass rush playing so well, they may look to get him out in space a lot more often. They don’t want him taking too many hits, he is all they’ve got.