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Kentucky At Louisville Preview

2021 Kentucky Football Awards

Two Years Since The Last Meeting

As a result of the SEC going to an all-league schedule last year was the first time since 1993 Kentucky and Louisville didn’t meet on the gridiron. Now that we’re back to a normal schedule “Rivalry Saturday” returns with several ACC and SEC teams meeting. Let’s get you ready for the first meeting since 2019 including a score prediction with our Kentucky at Louisville preview.

A Season Long Problem

In the blow out win over New Mexico State the Cats rolled up 707 yards, second most in school history. However, they continue having issues with turnovers. With the four against the Aggies, UK ranks 129th out of 130 teams in college football with a -13 turnover margin. Only Arizona at -15 is worse. The amazing thing is Kentucky is 8-3 while every other school near them on the list are having really bad seasons.

Quarterback Will Levis shook off a slow start to finish with 419 yards and four touchdowns. He’s the first UK signal caller to hit that total since Andre Woodson in 2007. However he does rank first in the SEC with 12 interceptions. Running back Chris Rodriguez went over the 1,000 yard mark for the year but also had another fumble. Against lesser teams the Cats have gotten away with it but on Saturday they might not be as lucky.

Let’s talk about the Wildcats’ opponent as we continue with our Kentucky at Louisville preview.

Scouting The Cardinals

Under head coach Scott Satterfield Louisville comes into Saturday’s game sporting a 6-5 record. They’ve won their last two contests by a 103-25 margin including a 62-22 drubbing of Duke last week. However three of their losses came by a combined 10 points and they’ve struggled finishing games as they nearly had both Clemson and Wake Forest beat only to lose late.

The star on offense is all-everything quarterback Malik Cunningham. For the season he’s thrown for 2,589 yards and 18 touchdowns with only five interceptions. In addition he’s a major dual threat QB gaining another 933 yards and a remarkable 18 touchdowns on the ground. In fact he’s third in the ACC in rushing yards and first in touchdowns. Behind Cunningham Jalen Mitchell leads the running backs with 669 yards and five scores. Cunningham’s favorite targets are Marshon Ford and Jordan Watkins. Between the two they’ve combined for 74 receptions and nearly 1,000 yards with six touchdowns.

On the other side of the ball linebacker C.J. Avery leads the team with 78 tackles. Another linebacker Yasir Abdullah has an impressive 13.5 tackles for loss and nine sacks. Both of those numbers put him second in the conference. Overall Louisville is 77th in the nation allowing 392 yards per game and 101st in passing yards with 254 a game.

Now that we’ve looked at both teams in our Kentucky At Louisville Preview let’s go through the history of “The Governor’s Cup.”

Series History

Saturday marks the 33rd time the schools have played with Kentucky holding a 17-15 advantage. The first meeting came all the way back in 1912. They played six times between then and 1924 with UK winning every one. However the two schools didn’t meet again until 1994 and had played every year since until 2020. In the modern series Louisville leads 15-11 including five straight wins from 2011-2015. Like any good rivalry there’s been some memorable games. However the last two have been very one-sided.

The Last Time They Met

Two years ago the most recent Kentucky-Lousiville game was one for the history books, especially if you are part of the Big Blue Nation. Led by a record setting performance by Lynn Bowden the Cats throttled their neighbor from up Interstate 64. Bowden ran for 284 yards and four touchdowns the most ever by a quarterback in Southeastern Conference history. Furthermore he was only 15 yards off the school record of 299 set by Moe Williams against South Carolina in 1995.

Following the game Satterfield and Mark Stoops had words over the “L’s Down” gesture many Kentucky players and fans do when referring to their rival. This of course is in response to the “L’s Up” the Cardinals do.

The last time they met in Louisville the Cats also won in a blow out 56-10. UK rolled up 601 yards behind strong games from Terry Wilson and Benny Snell. Kentucky’s won three of the last four after losing five in a row.

Now that we’ve previewed both teams it’s prediction time with our Kentucky at Louisville preview.

Who Wins On Saturday?

If we’re being honest it’s nice having this game back again after a year off. There’s been some good back and forth between the fans and even players and coaches. Some of the newer Cats aren’t as familiar with the rivalry but are learning quickly.

It came as quite a surprise to many that the Cards opened as a three point favorite. However as we mentioned earlier the Cards inability to finish out games is why they aren’t 8-3 right now. Kentucky needs to do what they do best, establish the run with Rodriguez then look for Wan’Dale Robinson or possibly the tight ends. Robinson became the first UK player under Stoops to have 1,000 yards receiving in a season. Look for him to have another big night Saturday.

Of course for the Cats to win they have to limit turnovers. Four miscues against the Cards are a recipe for disaster. On the other side of the ball UK has to keep Cunningham in check, which is a difficult task. A win on Saturday gives Kentucky a nine win regular season for the second time in four years. It’s only been done four times total since 1950.

Louisville would love nothing more than to end its losing streak to their rival and knock them out of a potential New Year’s Day bowl. It’s doubtful this is another blow out. In fact look for this one to go down to the wire with the Cats getting their third straight win.

Kentucky 31-24

Thanks for checking out our Kentucky at Louisville preview here at Last Word On College Football. We’ll have a recap after the game and have updated bowl projections later in the week. Currently we have both the Cats and Cards playing in very good games.

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