Scouting Report: Kentucky

The Kentucky Wildcats (4-5, 1-4) travel to Nashville to face off with the Vanderbilt Commodores (4-5, 1-5) in a battle to keep bowl hopes alive. The Wildcats who recently earned their first SEC victory over Ole Miss last week have an offense that has been reinvigorated since the emergence of true freshmen quarterback Maxwell Smith.

When Morgan Newton suffered a right ankle sprain in the first quarter against Mississippi State it was Smith who filled in for him going 26 of 33 for 174 yards. In his first start against Ole Miss Smith led the offense completing 19 of 36 passes for 283 yards and two touchdowns. Kentucky, who after Vandy has an away game against Georgia and home with Tennessee, has a tough road ahead if it wants to clinch a bowl berth.

The Wildcats started slow against Ole Miss trailing the Rebels for the first and for a good portion of the third quarters. Smith had an impressive day in his first start, completing passes of over 25 yards four times. For the second week in a row senior receiver Matt Roark led the team in receptions catching seven for 116 yards.

Against Mississippi State Roark had 13 catches for 116 yards, so it would seem Roark and newly appointed signal caller Smith have good chemistry. Roark has been held out of practice for the beginning of the week due to a foot sprain. In the last two games combined Roark had 20 catches for 232 yards while in the previous seven games he had 12 catches for 56 yards.

Leading receiver La'Rod King also had an impressive showing against the Rebels; he caught passes of 38 and 55 yards. La'Rod finished the day with three catches for 102 yards and a 38-yard touchdown, bringing his total to 514 yards and seven touchdowns this year.

The recent success in the passing game may have helped things open up for a rushing offense that ranks 11th in the conference in front of Tennessee. Junior walk-on Coshik Williams rushed for 111 yards and two touchdowns against the Rebels, his first time reaching the end zone this season. Sophomore Raymond Sanders who suffered an ankle injury earlier in the year should be back getting snaps this week but Williams will get the starting nod.

Defensively the Wildcats have given up over 35 points a game against SEC opponents and rank last in the conference in scoring defense and total defense, giving up 459.4 yards a game.

Linebacker Danny Trevathan leads the SEC in conference game tackles with 68, averaging 13.6 which is over three more than the next tackler in the SEC. Trevathan, who has three forced fumbles, has especially tenacious in the last three games with an interception in each and 39 tackles. Senior Ronnie Sneed is fourth on the team in tackles with 59 on the year. Sneed has been among the Wildcat's top three tacklers in the last two weeks.

Safeties Winston Guy and Martavius Neloms have combined for 158 tackles this year. Guy has an eye for the backfield with 11 tackles for a loss and 47 solo tackles, while Neloms has 16 tackles in the previous two games.

Defensive tackles Donte Rumph and Mister Cobble have both missed practice time this week with ankle injuries. Rumph has 30 tackles, three of which for a loss and one sack. Sophomore Cobble missed the 2010 regular season due to academic issues but has made significant contributions this year with 27 tackles.

After getting their first SEC victory against Ole Miss and handily beating Jacksonville State 38-14 two weeks prior the Cats are hoping to take two of their last three to qualify for a bowl. In the last three games Kentucky has averaged 383 yards on offense compared to their average of 280. The success of Maxwell Smith has given them new hope that they will continue their bowl streak. Top Stories