Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Kentucky: A First Look

Vanderbilt let some games get away earlier in the season that the Commodores likely could have won. That fact makes this week’s game with the Kentucky Wildcats all the more important. Here is your first look at the Wildcats.


Kentucky got off to a great start in the 2015 season winning four of its first five games.  The Wildcats opened with wins over UL Lafayette and South Carolina before dropping a close game at home to what we now know is a very good Florida game.  UK then beat Missouri and Eastern Kentucky in Lexington before starting a 4-game slide with a close loss to Auburn.   The Cats have been outscored over the past three games to the likes of Mississippi State, Tennessee and Georgia by a combined 121-40 score. 


Kentucky has had a rough season so far in the injury and suspension area.  Perhaps the biggest loss for the Cats was that of defensive tackle Melvin Lewis who was the only returning starter from on the defensive line from 2014.   Lewis was injured during that close Auburn loss which proceeded the three straight blowout losses the Cats have endured.  One bright spot is the return of running back Boom Williams who leads Kentucky in rushing with 563 yards on 85 carries for three touchdowns.  His status was updated to “probable” this week after missing the Georgia game with an injury.   Defensive back Darius West, who has nine tackles this season is listed as “questionable” for Vandy.  Special team’s player Joey Herrick is also listed as questionable.   


Kentucky and Vanderbilt right now are pretty even.  The Commodores have been able to surprise opponents such as Ole Miss, Florida and others with tough battles.  Indeed these teams may have been a little flat for Vandy.  Flat won’t be the case for Kentucky.   The 4-5 Wildcats must win two of their next there games to reach bowl eligibility.  After Vanderbilt, the Cats get cupcake Charlotte before their regular season finale at rival Louisville, a team which has improved since earlier in the season.  The Kentucky players know that if they lose to Vandy they’ll have a much harder road to travel to bowl by having to win at Louisville.  Vanderbilt needs an all-round team effort in order to win this game.  Boom Williams is one of those players that can hurt you in many ways, kind of like South Carolina’s Pharoh Cooper.  Kentucky will have no problem tallying two or three scores on Vandy’s Black Death Defense.   The Vandy offense has to do their part, without the turnovers, to help the Commodores stay alive in their own bowl race. 


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