Kentucky Football: 5 things to successfully take down the hated Vols

Tennessee quarterback Jarrett Guarantano is sacked by Kentucky linebacker Jordan Wright
Tennessee quarterback Jarrett Guarantano is sacked by Kentucky linebacker Jordan Wright /
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Kentucky football
Kentucky Wildcats tight end Justin Rigg (Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports) /

Kentucky needs to hit paydirt when it hits the Red Zone

Kentucky does a pretty good job of putting points on the board while the Tennessee defense happily obliges allowing teams to do so.

The Wildcats have entered the Red Zone 28 times this year and cashed in with 21 touchdowns and Matt Ruffalo has kicked four field goals.

Tennessee’s opponents have hit the Redzone 30 times and converted 23 into touchdowns and five field goals. They are the worst in the SEC in this category.

Sounds like a recipe for success if Levis, Rodriguez, and Liam Coen’s offense gets the train back on its tracks. They need to score, score and score. While they like long-time-eating possessions I think they need to put some big-time points on the scoreboard and get that swag back.

Kentucky football
Kentucky’s J.J. Weaver /

Kentucky’s defense can’t miss tackles like last week

Another week and another dual-threat quarterback lined up across from the Kentucky defense.

The Wildcats only have 28 solo tackles against Mississippi State according to defensive coordinator Brad White, but they also missed 21.

Can’t happen.

This week behind center is Hendon Hooker, Tennessee’s quarterback, but familiar to UK as he was the quarterback for Virginia Tech two years ago when Kentucky won 37-30 in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl.

This year he has engineered a balanced attack of throwing for 1,578 yards with 17 touchdowns
and two interceptions. Then there is the threat of him running it where he has amassed 416 yards.

Stoops talked about the play of Hooker and what they are doing more effectively now than earlier this season.

"“They are more effective, playing at a higher level. Like I talked about going into last week’s game with Mississippi State, they are making the routine look routine. For them, with how fast they go and the pressure they put on you, and executing, hitting shots down the field, they are doing that at a high level."

The defense will definitely have their hands full with a Tennessee offense that averages 226 yards on the ground and 231 through the air. Think way back to Missouri and you get the idea.

Teams lining up against the Kentucky defense are only converting 41 of 108 third-down chances this year and only 3 of 11 fourth-down tries. The Big Blue D has only allowed 24 trips into the Red Zone with 18 resulting in touchdowns.