The second most important game this week…

for the Dawgnation is, of course, the one being played in Lexington, Kentucky.

Statistically speaking, it looks good for UK, at least in terms of how the Kentucky offense could fare against the Vol defense.

The Wildcats generate about 100 yards more on offense at home than they do on the road. Tennessee, on the other hand, yields over 125 yards more on the road than it does at home.

The other splits – for UK’s defense and UT’s offense – don’t show that kind of disparity. So the stats would seem to suggest that UK stands a good chance of outgaining the Volunteers.

One troubling item, though, for UK is revealed in the ‘Cats’ month to month offensive yardage splits. Kentucky has seen its production decline significantly from September (492 ypg) to November (324 ypg). Tennessee’s offensive production has declined somewhat as well, but nowhere near on the level of Kentucky’s.

That suggests a team that’s getting worn out on the offensive side of the ball. That would seem to be confirmed by some of the comments appearing in the papers that cover UK football. All of that certainly appeared to be the case in the second half of the Georgia game, as the Kentucky line had problems handling the Dawg pass rush, UK couldn’t run the ball effectively and Woodson made some questionable on-field decisions. Even going +3 in turnover margin didn’t help.

Tennessee, on the other hand, after that comeback win against Vandy, feels pretty confident about itself.

The gameplans for each team look pretty obvious. For Tennessee, shut down the Kentucky running game to make the ‘Cats one-dimensional on offense and grind out the game on the UK defense. Kentucky has to hope it can match what Cal, Florida and Alabama did, which was to use the passing game to set up the run, along with some timely special teams play, and keep the Vols on their heels.

Kentucky has the weapons to make that work. And it’s not like Tennessee has looked like a world beater on the road this year – those three losses came against teams that have lost 13 games themselves so far. But the big question is whether the Wildcats have enough gas in the tank to end a 22 game losing streak against Tennessee. Going by what happened in Athens, you’d have to be skeptical of that.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “The second most important game this week…

  1. kckd

    Obvously, the Vandy game was a heartbreaker for Dawgs as much as Dores. But going into the game I was more worried of a UT blowout that would leave them rested for UK who had to play us for four quarters. Luckily, UT will not be rested any more than UK.

    I think it’s a pick ‘em. Everyone keeps saying UT can come up with the goods when it has to, but I’m not a big believe in that. They were blown out by their biggest rival and arguable their second largest. So at least on the surface, they’ve had just as much of a problem with energy for games as anybody else. And unlike Vandy, UK is a good enough team to take advantage of that and make them pay.

  2. I agree with you that the way the Vandy game played out was a plus in terms of UT expending energy.

    I just don’t think Woodson is the player he was three or four weeks ago, for some reason. And that may be the difference, unfortunately.