Battle For The Governor’s Cup Preview
On Saturday night Kentucky and Louisville meet for the 25th time since their rivalry was renewed back in 1994. The series is tied at 15 wins each however the Cards lead 15-9 in the modern series. Mark Stoops’ club has a great deal to play for while Louisville is looking to spring the upset. With all that in mind let’s begin our Battle for the Governor’s Cup Preview.
Getting Back On Track
Kentucky ended a two game losing streak last Saturday with a 34-23 win over Middle Tennessee. In the game the Cats dormant offense showed some signs of life with 324 yards of total offense. Benny Snell ran for over 100 yards for the first time since the Vanderbilt game. In addition the junior scored two more touchdowns giving him 44 for his career. This puts him in some exclusive company.
Junior RB @benny_snell and some guy named Herschel Walker are the only ✌️ players in @SEC history to rush for at least 1,000 yards and 12 rushing touchdowns in each of their first three seasons. ?#SnellYeah pic.twitter.com/nLbpf7Rpl1
— Kentucky Football (@UKFootball) November 17, 2018
Snell likely only has two more games left in a Kentucky uniform. He needs 207 yards to break Sonny Collins’ all-time rushing mark of 3,835 yards. Last season he rushed for a career high 211 yards against Louisville.
Another player who had a huge game on senior day was Josh Allen. Playing at Kroger Field for the last time the likely Top 10 pick in next year’s draft recorded 15 tackles with two for a loss. In addition he had two sacks giving him the season and career records with 13 and 27.5 respectively.
Allen is having one one of the most dominant seasons ever for Kentucky football. As a result he is nominated for just about every defensive award imaginable. Quite the accomplishment for a two-star player who was going to Monmouth before the Cats came calling.
For those keeping track at home, here's the list of awards @JoshAllen41_ is up for right now … ?
? @NagurskiTrophy finalist
? Butkus Award finalist
? @BednarikAward finalist
? @WalterCampFF Trophy semifinalist
? @TheLottTrophy Quarterfinalisthttps://t.co/RhwuRgqMLx pic.twitter.com/7QioT4P3F8
— Kentucky Football (@UKFootball) November 19, 2018
In addition to huge individual performances on Saturday the team reached a big milestone as well. The Cats now sit at 8-3 on the year. That is the first time since 1984 Kentucky has won eight games in a regular season.
Forging ahead with our Battle for the Governor’s Cup Preview let’s take a look at the what has been a season to forget for Louisville.
Scouting The Cardinals
Saying the 2018 season has been a disappointment for Louisville is an understatement of epic proportions. They come into Saturday’s game with a 2-9 record, their worst since going 1-10 in 1997. Things have been so bad the school fired Bobby Petrino following a 54-23 loss to Syracuse. Safeties coach Lorenzo Ward is filling out the rest of the season as interim coach. Meanwhile Card fans wait to see if Jeff Brohm leaves Purdue to return home where he starred as a player.
Currently the Cardinals rank 116th in total defense allowing 472 yards per game. In addition they are fifth worst in football giving up 271 rushing yards a game. Kentucky’s offense should be able to have a field day against Louisville. Furthermore they have allowed more than 50 points six times in 11 games including 66 to Georgia Tech and a whopping 77 to Clemson.
On the other side of the ball they are near the bottom in college football in scoring offense. Averaging 20 points per contest the Cards rank 119th out of 129 teams. Jawon Pass has struggled filling the shoes of Lamar Jackson. For the year Pass has thrown for 1,960 yards with only eight touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
Who Wins On Saturday?
As we continue our Battle for the Governor’s Cup Preview it’s prediction time. On paper it appears that the Cats should have a field day. However in a rivalry game you can throw the stats and records out the window.
Kentucky fans need look no further than two years ago when a four touchdown underdog Wildcats squad upset the Cards 41-38. Saturday’s game is in essence a bowl game for Louisville. They would love nothing more than to keep the Cats from a potential New Year’s Day Bowl. Kentucky opened as an 18 point favorite but everyone knows you should never take the points when it comes to the Wildcats. Stoops’ Troops get their first nine win regular season since 1977 and head to a January 1st game for the first time in twenty years.
Kentucky 31 Louisville 17
Thanks for checking out our Battle for the Governor’s Cup Preview here at Last Word On College Football. Next time out we will look ahead to the Wildcats’ possible bowl destinations.