Kentucky Plays Host To Vanderbilt

First of Three Straight Home Games

This past weekend Kentucky gritted out a 21-17 win over Missouri. That cemented a seventh straight bowl bid for Mark Stoops’ club. Thanks to an interesting scheduling quirk the Wildcats don’t have to leave the friendly confines of Kroger Field for the rest of the season. The first of those contests kicks off at Noon on Saturday on the SEC Network against a team they have had a great deal of recent success against. Let’s break it down and give you a prediction as Kentucky plays host to Vanderbilt.

Getting Back On Track

Coming off an embarrassing loss at Tennessee the Wildcats needed a boost and they got it in Columbia. After the Tigers clawed back to take a 17-14 lead in the fourth quarter Will Levis led the Cats to a game-winning drive. Had they lost it would have been four losses in the last five and the potential for a great season was out the window. The UK signal caller threw for three touchdowns while Chris Rodriguez ran for 112 yards. As a result of the win, Kentucky moved into the College Football Playoff rankings at 24th.

Look for Rodriguez to have a big game on Saturday versus the Commodores. During his career, the senior put up some big numbers rushing for 392 yards and nearly nine yards a carry. In addition, he scored five touchdowns. It’s no secret Kentucky’s offense has struggled since Levis’ injury in the Ole Miss game. The Wildcats averaged 31 points a game in their first four contests of 2022. Since then they have only been scoring 17 a game. They’ll have a good chance to get back on track on Saturday.

Scouting The Commodores

Clark Lea’s club comes into Saturday with a 3-6 record and 0-5 in the SEC. In addition, they’ve lost five in a row after starting 3-1. In the past two games, they’ve played close only to come up short. They dropped a 17-14 contest at Missouri then fell 38-27 to South Carolina last week. The Commodores average 27 points a game but are giving up 37, which ranks sixth worst in college football.

Vandy’s been using two quarterbacks on the season, AJ Swann and Mike Wright. Against the Gamecocks, Swann completed 10 of 18 passes for 127 yards and two touchdowns. Wright hit 8 of 15 for 101 yards and another score. However, each signal caller had an interception. Swann left the Missouri game with a lower-body injury and though he played last week he won’t on Saturday.

Running back Ray Davis ranks fifth in the SEC with 731 yards and four touchdowns. He’s also a pass-catching threat with 22 receptions and three more scores. Wright’s also a running threat gaining 328 yards and finding the end zone four times. Their two leading pass catchers are Will Sheppard and Jayden McGowan. Sheppard ranks second in the league in receptions and touchdowns with 47 and 8 respectively. McGowan is ninth with 38 catches.

On the other side of the ball, Anfernee Orji leads not only the team but the league in tackles with 89. He also had 6.5 for a loss and a sack. Jaylen Mahoney is next with 46 while Kane Patterson leads the squad with 2.5 sacks.

Now that we’ve told you what to look for with both teams let’s look at the rivalry between the two schools as Kentucky plays host to Vanderbilt.

Series History

The Kentucky-Vanderbilt history is one of the streaks. Right now the Wildcats have a hot streak going. Saturday will be the 95th meeting all-time between the schools with UK holding a 48-42 lead with four ties. In addition, Kentucky’s won six straight, their longest consecutive winning streak against an SEC foe in history tying a mark they set from 1976-1981, also against Vanderbilt.

Before the Wildcats’ current win streak the Commodores won four of five between 2011-2015.

Now that we’ve previewed both teams it’s time for a prediction as Kentucky plays host to Vanderbilt.

Who Wins On Saturday?

As a result of the win against Missouri, the Wildcats extended their bowl eligibility record to seven straight years. Of course, most in the Big Blue Nation are passed just getting to six wins. Now they are playing for more each year. Currently, Last Word has them playing Illinois in the ReliaQuest Bowl. A win against Vanderbilt will go a long way in cementing that.

With a couple of exceptions, the Commodores have put up points against everyone they’ve played. Obviously, the Cats will have to do likewise. Basing it on the stats Levis should be in for a good game as Vandy’s given up 20 passing touchdowns against Power Five teams in 2022. Furthermore, team speed is an issue and behind Barion Brown, Dane Key and Tayvion Robinson Kentucky’s got plenty in that category.

The Wildcats opened as an 18-point favorite and if we learned anything over the last few years UK rarely covers as a double-figure favorite, especially in the SEC. At the end of the day, Kentucky sends Vandy to their 27th straight SEC loss.

Kentucky 34-17

We’ll be back after the game with a complete wrap-up as Kentucky plays host to Vanderbilt. Also, we’ll have updated bowl projections and get you ready for the battle with top-ranked Georgia next Saturday.