Previewing Arkansas At Kentucky

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The Cats Need A Bounce Back Win

Two teams looking to break losing streaks meet under the lights on a special evening in Lexington. Kentucky has lost three straight in the SEC while the Razorbacks have dropped 13 in a row in league play. Who finally gets back on the winning track? Let’s dig in as we begin previewing Arkansas at Kentucky. Before we get to that, here’s a look at a bittersweet night on Saturday.

Honoring A Legend

In addition to the game on Saturday night, the university is honoring the memory of Jared Lorenzen. The “Hefty Lefty” was one of the most beloved figures in Kentucky football history. Sadly, Lorenzen passed away on July 3rd due to complications from heart and kidney problems.

In a legendary career, the 2003 game against Arkansas ranks near the top. The Razorbacks won one of college football’s greatest games in seven overtimes 71-63. However, it was the UK quarterback’s performance many were talking about. For the game, he threw for 328 yards and two touchdowns. Furthermore, he ran for scores in the fourth, fifth and sixth overtimes. The game finally ended when Lorenzen was stopped short of the goal line in the seventh overtime.

Originally Kentucky quarterback Terry Wilson planned to wear special shoes to commemorate the life of Lorenzen. Unfortunately, he was injured against Eastern Michigan and is out for the year.

Now it’s time to turn our attention to the game on Saturday. As we begin previewing Arkansas at Kentucky, let’s look at the Cats struggles on offense.

Searching For Offense

Halfway through the third period, Sawyer Smith hit Keaton Upshaw to go up 21-10 on Florida. In the almost ten quarters since, Kentucky has only mustered 20 points. Against a South Carolina defense who hadn’t done much in 2019, the Cats were stopped repeatedly. Only a Lynn Bowden-led drive late in the fourth quarter kept Kentucky from being shut out for the first time since 2012.

For the Cats, the bye week couldn’t have come at a better time. Smith is suffering from a myriad of injuries and honestly shouldn’t have been out there against South Carolina in the second half. Before finally converting against the Gamecocks, Kentucky was one for 25 on third downs. Quite frankly that won’t get it done in the SEC.

Smith didn’t throw a ball during the bye week. However, Mark Stoops says Smith feels pretty good after the week of rest. He is listed as the starter for Saturday, but one would think offensive coordinator Eddie Gran has things in the playbook for not only Bowden but back up Walker Wood as well. Wood, a redshirt sophomore from Lexington, Lafayette, was sent out the last two games only to be pulled before ever taking a snap. If Smith can’t go or is ineffective, look for one or possibly both to see action.

Scouting The Razorbacks

On the other side of ball Chad Morris’ Razorbacks come into Saturday also at 2-3 and also off a bye. In their previous game, they took Texas A&M to the wire before losing 31-27. Arkansas is similar to Kentucky in the fact their starting quarterback is also injured. Nick Starkel left the game two weeks ago with an arm injury. He was replaced by Ben Hicks who played under Morris at SMU. He completed 15-of-27 passes for 188 yards and a touchdown. By all accounts, Starkel is the starter but much like the Kentucky situation, Hicks may see some time.

Another player the Cats have to look out for is running back Rakeem Boyd. The junior ranks third in the SEC with 483 yards rushing. In addition, he has nine receptions and three touchdowns. Tight end CJ O’Grady and wide receivers Trey Knox and Mike Woods are the top options when they throw the ball.

Series History

The Cats and Hogs have met seven times on the gridiron, however none since 2012. Kentucky owns a 4-3 lead with Arkansas winning the last meeting 49-7. The last victory for the Cats came in 2008. Trailing 20-7 in the fourth quarter, Mike Hartline hit Randall Cobb twice giving Kentucky a 21-20 win. The victory made our list of the greatest victories in school history.

Who Wins On Saturday?

It’s prediction time as we continue previewing Arkansas at Kentucky. As stated earlier, both teams really need a victory. Following three straight losses, the Cats can ill afford a loss here. Last Word on CFB currently has the Wildcats playing in the Liberty Bowl however, a loss here greatly hurts their bowl chances. On the other hand, a win by Arkansas puts them squarely back into bowl consideration.

The last time Kentucky lost four straight conference games was back in 2015. Meanwhile, Arkansas hasn’t won an SEC game since October 28th, 2017 when they beat Ole Miss 38-37.

When the season began, this looked like an easy victory for Kentucky. But with all the injuries and uncertainty around the quarterback position, this should be close. In the end on a night honoring a legend, the Cats get a much-needed win.

Kentucky 27-21

Thanks for previewing Arkansas at Kentucky here at Last Word On College Football. Don’t forget we’ll have a recap of the game plus a look at a tough test next week for the Cats as they head to Georgia.

Main Photo Credit:

LEXINGTON, KY – OCTOBER 18: Erick Adeyemi #13 of the Kentucky Wildcats avoids the tackle by Wendell Davis #47 of the Arkansas Razorbacks at Commonwealth Stadium on October 18, 2008 in Lexington, Kentucky. The Wildcats defeated the Razorbacks 21 to 20. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)