The 2013 season really hasn’t gone as planned for the Kentucky football team. Injuries, inexperience, and bad luck has plagued the year and Coach Stoops and his staff will try to close the season on a positive note with a win over Tennessee for senior night.
When Kentucky has the ball:
Starting running back Raymond Sanders is suspended for this game and will sit out senior night. In his stead, Dyshawn Mobley could be a candidate to break out against his home state team after a good showing last week against Georgia. Jalen Whitlow should be at helm again and will try to direct the offense against a Tennessee defense that has struggled mightily this season.
When Tennessee has the ball:
The Kentucky defense had a flashback to their performance against Western Kentucky last week and allowed Georgia to thump them in Athens. Tennessee’s offense is nowhere near as potent as the Bulldogs’ and won’t feature the weapons to do the same damage in the passing game. The Volunteers, much like Kentucky, have struggled to throw the ball and tend to become one-dimensional. Unlike Kentucky, Tennessee has a power rushing game that features a big back (Neal) and one of the conference’s best offensive lines.
Players to watch:
Instead of pointing out individual players that might stand out in this matchup or focusing on some of the young talent on this Kentucky team, I will instead just pick the entire graduating class. Many of the guys that are seniors have been passed up by younger, more talented players or where left in no-man’s land when the staff change brought a scheme they didn’t fit. Guys like Kevin Mitchell (OG), Tyler Robinson (TE), Jordan Aumiller (TE), Avery Williamson (LB) and many others have played their hearts out over the past 4-5 years and their contributions shouldn’t go unnoticed. Even the backups and walk-ons that haven’t seen meaningful snaps in their entire careers have helped to pave the way for what appears to be a bright future for the Kentucky football program.
This season’s Tennessee-Kentucky game features two downtrodden programs that are in year one of a total rebuilding process. The Vols have just as many question marks as the Wildcats do and this game will likely come down to who wants it more. Playing in Lexington gives Kentucky the edge as a solid crowd provides the team an added advantage against their rivals to the south.
Kentucky 27 – Tennessee 24