VAUGHT: Most important game of the year Saturday

There's no conference championship or bowl bid riding on the outcome, but Kentucky's most important game of the season — and possibly of the Rich Brooks' era — is Saturday at Indiana.

For the Cats to show they are making progress and have any chance to salvage a respectable season, they have to be able to go on the road and beat a team they have dominated in recent years. Sure, Indiana is 2-0, but the Hoosiers are more beatable than any team left on the Kentucky schedule.

Remember, this is a team UK's pathetic offense demolished last year. Even with injuries to Keenan Burton and Tommy Cook, the Cats have to show they can still score on Indiana and the defense, which has been decimated by injuries, has to pull together and find a way to make enough stops to get a victory.

This will be a huge test for the character of this team. The Cats backed up their courageous preseason talk with a gutsy second-half performance against Louisville. However, they took three steps back Saturday against Idaho State until game-breaker Rafael Little potentially saved the season with his kickoff return late in the fourth quarter.

Kentucky will have at least eight players that would have played in this game missing because of injuries — and the number could grow higher. But guess what? Brooks and his players can't use that as an excuse because the scoreboard is still going to be working. The Cats have to rally together and find a way to win.

The guess here is that they will do just that, too. I was disappointed with the team's play Saturday. I expected a bigger, and much, easier win. But strange things happen every Saturday across the country and the point to remember is that Kentucky did win, something it couldn't do last year against Ohio when it played the same kind of lackluster game.

The Cats have to wonder what else can go wrong this season after the number of injuries they have suffered. But Kentucky can't let this game get away or else its season will be in limbo along with Brooks' job security.

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