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Kentucky Football

Big Blue Banter Roundtable: Kentucky vs. Tennessee

November 10, 2018
319

The University of Kentucky football team returns to action this Saturday as they travel to Knoxville to take on the Tennessee Volunteers. The Vols are still in the midst of a rebuild under new Head Coach Jeremy Pruitt and have struggled to a 4-5 (1-4) record this season. Despite a horrible start to the year, Tennessee has improved over the past month. They notched their only conference in on the road against Auburn and played South Carolina extremely close on the road.

The offense has been the biggest issue for Tennessee in 2018. They currently rank 122 (out of 130) in the country in total offense. They are only ahead of two Power Five teams in Iowa State and Rutgers. The Vols only score an average of 24.6 points per game and are about to go up against a defense ranked 16th in the country in total defense and 8th in the country in points allowed. On the season, Tennessee is averaging 205.3 passing yards and 127.7 rushing yards per game, while only scoring 24.6 points and surrendering 26.7 points per game. These numbers set this game up as one the Kentucky defense should be able to flex their muscles.

Sophomore QB Jarrett Guarantano has led the Vols this season and thrown for 1,571 yards, 9 touchdowns and only 2 interceptions while completing 65.6% of his passes. He has been a light in the Tennessee offense throughout the season, although the offense as a whole has struggled. Tennessee’s inability to run the football has been their biggest issue to date. Their lead running back, sophomore Tim Jordan, has only eclipsed 100 yards in one game - week one against West Virginia. He is averaging just 46 yards on the ground per game. Jordan tends to split the load with fellow sophomore Ty Chandler who himself has only had one strong showing this season - a 158-yard performance against UTEP. A performance which included an 81-yard touchdown run. Kentucky has had one of the top rushing defenses in the country this year and should be able to capitalize on a weak rushing attack from the Vols.

In addition to a poor offense, Tennessee has not posed much of a threat on defense this year. Especially against the run. The Vols are giving up 161.1 yards per game to opposing rushing attacks. Benny Snell should have no problem getting back on track this weekend.

Tennessee is rebuilding. They are in a place much like Kentucky was just a few years ago under coach Stoops. If the Vols stay the course, Coach Pruitt will have the opportunity to lead them back to relevancy in the SEC. However, this should be a game that allows the Cats to get back on track defensively and offensively.

 

Current Line: Kentucky -5.5

Over/Under: 41

 

Predictions

Patrick Loney: Kentucky gets the run game back on track against Tennessee; Josh Allen will create havoc on the other side of the ball to where Kentucky rebounds back on to the win column.

Final Score: 31-10

Offensive MVP: Benny Snell

Defensive MVP: Josh Allen

 

Chad Pruitt: Kentucky and Tennessee are 13 and 14 in the SEC in scoring, both under 25/game. Guarantano has only thrown a pick in 1 game all year, which is impressive despite their issues. But, the rushing game is only averaging 3.4 yards/carry. That is 117th in the country and by far the worst in the SEC. Terry Wilson threw for 721 yards in the first 7 games at 64%, but has thrown for 493 yards in the past 2 at 75%. I think they continue to let Terry throw the ball more and take the load off a banged up Benny Snell. If the Vols continue to have an issue running the ball, I think we could win big, but I’m not going to predict us to light up the scoreboard until I see more proof on the field.

Final Score: 27-10

Offensive MVP: Terry Wilson

Defensive MVP: Mike Edwards

 

Jordan Hoehler: Kentucky should not have much of a problem with Tennessee. Although the Cats have not won in Knoxville since 1984, this UT team is weak in the areas where Kentucky is strong. Josh Allen should have a chance at the career sack record and Benny Snell will look to get back on track against a horrific run defense. Cats win and secure a second-place finish in the SEC East.

Final Score: Kentucky 24 – Tennessee 7

Offensive MVP: Benny Snell

Defensive MVP: Josh Allen

 

Darren Durham: The real test this week is whether can Kentucky can get their collective heads on straight and get back to business. If they do that then it's hard to see the Vols doing much offensively. The key here is to not let Georgia beat you twice.

Final Score:Kentucky 28 Tennesse 13

Offensive MVP: Terry Wilson

Defensive MVP:Josh Allen

 

Braxton Howard: History is tricking a lot of people in this one. This isn't the old rivalry, Kentucky is a better football team in essentially every aspect of the game. This game will be close for a while, but Kentucky will pull away after a disappointing outing against Georgia. The Cats defense is elite and will bounce back by not giving up a touchdown.

Final Score: Kentucky 24 Tennessee 6

Offensive MVP: Benny Snell 

Defensive MVP: Josh Allen

 
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