Battle For The Governor’s Cup Preview

Battle For The Governor's Cup Preview
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Both Teams Looking For A Strong Finish

The final week of the regular season means it’s “Rivalry Week” in the SEC. For Kentucky, they face their rival from just up Interstate 64 in Louisville. The Wildcats have won two of the last three but can they win at home for the first time since 2009. Let’s find who has the advantage with our Battle For The Governor’s Cup Preview.

On A Roll

Over the last two games, Kentucky has rushed for 860 yards. Two weeks ago against Vanderbilt, they went for 398. Last Saturday against Tennessee-Martin they ran for a school-record 462. Ever since Lynn Bowden moved to quarterback the offense has been on a different level.

In only six games at quarterback Bowden has rushed for 951 yards, ranking him seventh in the SEC. He also leads the league and is fifth in the nation in yards per attempt at 7.4. In addition, he still leads the team in receptions with 30, even though he hasn’t caught a pass in six games.

The finalist for the Paul Hornung Award Award needs only 49 yards to become the 14th player in school history to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark. Kentucky’s offense has been simple yet effective, no sense changing it now. In addition to Bowden look for A.J. Rose, Christopher Rodriguez, and Kavosiey Smoke to get a lot of touches. With so many talented backs Mark Stoops can go with whoever has the hot hand.

Scouting The Cardinals

A season ago the Louisville program was close to rock bottom. Head coach Bobby Petrino didn’t even finish the season and the Cards sank to 2-10. That after winning 25 games over the last three years and going to a bowl each time.

The school attempted to lure former quarterback Jeff Brohm back home. However, he decided to stay at Purdue. From there they tabbed Scott Satterfield as their next coach. In just one season the former Appalachian State head man has done an incredible job leading the Cards to a 7-4 record.

Louisville comes into Saturday with the 28th best offense in college football, averaging 453 yards per game. Quarterback Malik Cunningham leads the attack throwing for over 1,700 yards. In addition, he has 19 touchdowns and only four interceptions. After taking over for the injured Jawon Pass the sophomore has gotten steadily better. He’s coming off his best game of the year in the Cards’ 56-34 win over Syracuse. Cunningham threw for five touchdowns and 238 yards. Furthermore, he ran for another score.

His favorite target is wide receiver, Chartarius Atwell. For the season Atwell has 56 receptions for 1,068 yards and 11 touchdowns. Javian Hawkins is the main man on the ground. The redshirt freshman has 1,278 yards rushing and seven touchdowns. He’s coming off a 238-yard effort against Syracuse. Kentucky’s strong defense has their work cut out for them.

While the Cards move the ball well they also give up a lot on defense. For the season they rank 102nd in football allowing 439 yards a contest. In addition, they allow 33 points a game which ranks 104th.

Series History

Kentucky and Louisville first met way back in 1912 though the two schools didn’t play from 1924 to 1994. Overall the Cats lead the “Battle for the Governor’s Cup” 16 wins to 15. However, since the series was renewed the Cards lead 15 to 10. Furthermore, Louisville has won six of the last eight and the Cats haven’t won at home since 2009.

The Last Time They Met

A season ago the Wildcats played one of their best games of the 2018 campaign. In a 56-10 rout in Louisville quarterback, Terry Wilson accounted for 340 yards of total offense and four touchdowns. A.J. Rose and Benny Snell each ran for over 100 yards as Kentucky ran up 601 yards on the Cardinals. The margin of victory was the largest for the Wildcats against their rival since winning 73-0 in 1922.

Who Wins On Saturday?

As we continue our Battle for the Governor’s Cup Preview it’s prediction time. A few weeks ago this game looked like a battle for a bowl berth. However, both teams have finished strong and are bowl eligible. Current projections by Last Word has Kentucky in the Belk Bowl and Louisville in the Music City.

Like any good rivalry, there’s always room for trash talking. Bowden started it after the Tennessee-Martin game by refusing to say Louisville.

While many think Satterfield should be ACC coach of the year, the job Stoops has done at Kentucky isn’t too shabby. After losing first-round draft pick Josh Allen and the entire secondary the Cats defense has been strong all year. How strong check out this list.

The last team to hang 30 on Kentucky was Georgia when they won 34-17 on November 3rd, 2018. Louisville has proven they can score a ton of points which is going to test the UK defense. However, in what is probably Bowden’s last game at Kroger Field the Cats should put up huge numbers against a mediocre Cardinal defense. In everything you expect from a rivalry game, the Cats win a close one.

Kentucky 28-24

Thanks for checking out our Battle For The Governor’s Cup Preview here at Last Word On College Football. We’ll be back after the game with a recap and early next week’s updated bowl projections.

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