Kentucky Football: Cats a victor in highlighting the SEC’s winners, losers

The Kentucky Wildcats offense (Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports)
The Kentucky Wildcats offense (Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Kentucky football
Kentucky vs Vanderbilt (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Traditional cellar-dweller Vanderbilt simply abysmal in loss

Clearly, the award for the biggest flop on the opening weekend has to go to Vanderbilt.

There was a time when Kentucky and Vandy were always the talks of who would occupy the ground floor of the SEC, and even the SEC as a whole.

Kentucky’s Mark Stoops has drastically changed the Wildcat’s trajectory skyward, while Vandy just dug itself into an even bigger embarrassing hole losing 23-3 to FCS and fellow in-state schools of higher-learning East Tennessee State.

After going winless in nine games in 2020, the Commodores scheduled ETSU to start the season with a new coach and alum in Clark Lea and even ponied up $415,000 to have them travel four hours across the Volunteer State.

Someone forgot to tell ETSU they weren’t supposed to win.

The Buccaneer victory was their first over a Power Five program since upsetting North Carolina State on November 7, 1987.

Vanderbilt became the first SEC school to drop a game to an FCS program since South Carolina fell to The Citadel on November 21, 2015.

The Commodores head west next week to Colorado State in a battle of two FBS teams who both lost to FCS programs to open this season. Colorado State was blown out 42-23 at home by South Dakota State.

Kentucky will travel to Nashville to play Vandy on November 13 after hosting Tennessee the week before at Kroger Field. This sets the stage for the Wildcats to finish with two non-conference games in New Mexico State and Louisville.

Mississippi State has to rally hard to nip Louisianna Tech in the end

While some would put this on the winner’s side, I would beg to differ because while LA Tech is a strong program in Conference USA it was clear Skip Holtz had his Bulldog team ready to play the host Bulldogs in Starkville.

Mississippi State was on the ropes as it entered the final quarter and then trailed Louisiana Tech 34-14 with 13:11 to play. That was due to their poor showing in the second half going: punt, fumble, pick-six, and punt.

Mike Leach is known for his ability to get his teams to score points quickly and that is what Mississippi State did scoring touchdowns on their next three drives.

Meanwhile, their defense that had struggled much of the night forced a three-and-out as time was about to expire. With the drama building Tech kicker Caleb Phillips’ 46-yard field goal attempt fell just short for the upset.

Mississippi State remains at home next week to host North Carolina State.

Kentucky will meet travel to Starkville for a Halloween-eve battle that the Wildcats hope doesn’t turn into a horror fest.

The series between the schools is tied at 24-24 and cross-conference permanent games that the two schools play have gone 3-3 over the past six seasons. Kentucky won 24-2 last year.

Kentucky sees LSU defense allow UCLA to pick it apart

There is a three-game stretch Kentucky has of Florida, LSU, and Georgia where the Cats hope to pick up a pair of wins. LSU was the wildcard game, but after watching the UCLA offense carve up the Tiger defense to win 38-27 this could become a reality for UK.

The win was also the first time in 13 years a Pac-12 team has defeated a ranked Southeastern Conference squad.

Ed Orgeron saw new defensive coordinator Daronte Jones’s defense allowed 470 yards to the Bruins in the 2021 opener. There are a lot more powerful offenses in the SEC this season which could make for a long year for the Tigers.

That is welcome news for the Big Blue.

Since the start of last season, the LSU defense has allowed 14 completions of 50 yards or more which ranks as the most in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

Kentucky offensive coordinator Liam Coen, Levis, Ali, and Robinson may have balls flying all over Kroger field come October 9. The Wildcats traditionally haven’t had much success against the Tigers but this appears their best opportunity since 2007 when they won 43-37 in Lexington.

Next. 5 things we learned from UK win over ULM. dark