Be ready Kentucky football fans, Kroger Field will play host to Tennessee on Saturday at 7 p.m.. The Wildcats are coming off a bye week and trying to avoid three straight losses. Meanwhile, Tennessee is trying to avoid back-to-back losses after last week’s 34-20 slip to Alabama.
Here are three goals for Kentucky football to send the Volunteers home with a loss on Saturday, and a game prediction.
Reduce the penalty yards
Seven games into the season and if I feel like a broken record, I can only imagine how the coaching staff feels. If the Cats are to win this game Saturday they have to limit the penalties. In, what I believe, to be Kentucky’s best outing of the season against Florida, the Cats had a total of three penalties for 25 yards. That should be the standard for the rest of the year, anything more than that is a disappointment.
Stop the run
Tennessee leads the SEC with 217.3 rush yards a game, coming into this matchup. For the Cats to win Saturday, Brad White and company must find a way to stop the run. Having the SEC leader in interceptions (5) in Maxwell Hairston alone may be enough to make the Volunteers timid in the passing game. It’s important that Deone Walker and the Kentucky football defensive line get penetration and create chaos in the backfield.
Control the clock
I don’t think either coaching staff is coming into this game Saturday wanting to air the ball out. I think the most important thing in this game will be controlling the clock. Look for Ray Davis to get 25-plus touches on the day and hopefully have his biggest game of the season. If the Wildcats are able to jump out to an early lead and maintain it, don’t look for Kentucky to throw the ball more than 20 times on the day, making sure the clock keeps running by feeding their running backs.
Kentucky football has had two weeks to prepare for this game, I think that is enough time for the coaches to work on the penalty problems they’ve had. Kentucky wins a close, low-scoring game in Lexington on Saturday, 24-21.