Matchup: Kentucky

This week, Tennessee takes on Kentucky in Lexington. This is our take on this Vols vs Wildcats matchup.

Game #: 1141
Site: Lexington
Date: Nov. 24
Conference: SECE
Coach Match-up:
For the Vols - Fulmer and for the Wildcats - Brooks


Vols

Wildcats
OLCOMMENTSOL

UT has allowed an NCAA-best three sacks this season, two against Ainge. The Vols are averaging only 151.2 rushing yards per game, but that's because Cutcliffe has often gone away from the run. The per carry average of 4.5 ranks fourth in the SEC. UK's offensive line is a cut above average. Strong play by skill players help mask blocking deficiencies.

QB'sCOMMENTSQB's

After a hot start, UT's Erik Ainge has tailed off. His inconsistency has been cause for concern, but he came up clutch in the fourth quarter against Vanderbilt. He has completed 64.5 percent of his passes for 2,511 yards and 20 touchdowns. Kentucky's Andre Woodson is considered a first-round draft pick by most NFL analysts. He has a big arm but not much mobility. He's completed 63.1 percent of his passes for 2,921 yards and an SEC-best 30 touchdowns.

RB'sCOMMENTSRB's

Arian Foster climbed to No. 10 on UT's all-time rushing list with 989 yards. He's averaging 5.5 yards per carry – the best of any SEC back who doesn't play for Arkansas. Rafael Little leads Kentucky with 784 yards in eight games. He's missed three games due to a back injury and he's not yet 100 percent. True freshman Derrick Locke has 475 yards (5.4 per carry). Tony Dixon averages 5.9 per run.

WR'sCOMMENTSWR's

Lucas Taylor has battled through turf toe the last month to catch 65 passes – only three Vols have had more in a single season -- for 872 yards. He had nine catches against Vanderbilt after just 15 in the previous four games. Austin Rogers has 49 catches and tight end Chris Brown 36. Keenan Burton is UK's top receiver with 51 receptions for 602 yards. Steve Johnson (48 for 842) and Dicky Lyons Jr. (47 for 535) are prime targets. Tight end Jacob Tamme has 44 catches.


Vols

Wildcats
DLCOMMENTSDL

UT's tackles – Demonte Bolden and Dan Williams – have really improved since the start of the season. Ends Xavier Mitchell and Robert Ayers have had decent years. The run defense is giving up 160.6 yards per game and the front four has 10 combined sacks. UT's total of 14 is last in the SEC. UK allows 196.1 rushing yards per game and 4.6 yards per carry. UK has 22 sacks, nine by end Jeremy Jarmon.

LB'sCOMMENTSLB's

UT's Jerod Mayo has emerged as the team's best defensive player. He had 15 tackles against Vandy. Ryan Karl has played well the past four games and Rico McCoy is second on the team with 89 tackles. John Chavis said this is the best trio of linebackers he's ever had. UK's Wesley Woodyard is an All-SEC player who leads the league with 114 tackles. He has 8.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, five pass breakups and three forced fumbles.

DB'sCOMMENTSDB's

UT's young secondary has improved, but it hasn't faced a passing attack like Kentucky's. Eric Berry is already one of the SEC's top defensive backs. Brent Vinson still plays too soft on the corner. DeAngelo Willingham is coming around. Cornerback Trevard Lindley is UK's best defensive back. Kentucky is fifth in the SEC in pass-defense efficiency. Each team has 12 interceptions.

S. TeamsCOMMENTSS. Teams

UT's Daniel Lincoln has won two games with field goals and he's made 20 of 24 attempts this season. Punter Britton Colquitt hasn't played to his potential. Rogan has given the team a lift on punt and kick returns. UT is first in the SEC in kickoff returns and UK is first in kick coverage. Keenan Burton is fifth in kick returns, Tim Masthay averages 40.5 yards per punt.


Vols

Wildcats
INTANGIBLES

UT has won 22 in a row against Kentucky, but of more importance, the Vols need a win to play for the SEC Championship Dec. 1 against LSU. Kentucky wants to snap the nation's longest active losing streak. If not now, when? Each team has strong motivation.

PREDICTION

Tennessee 34, Kentucky 30.


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