This Saturday, the Kentucky Wildcats will visit Nashville to play the Vanderbilt Commodores in a game that will be significant for both teams. Both the Cats and the ‘Dores sit at 4-5 currently and a win for either puts them one win away from bowl eligibility. However for the loser, that will mean they would have to win their final two games to be bowl bound, and that would be a tall order for either team. Up to this point both teams have had good and bad games this season although for very different reasons.
In UK’s case the issue has been an inconsistent and a stagnant offense that has few and far between break-out moments (Jacksonville St. & Ole Miss). For Vandy, the issue has been similar but primary problem was at QB where Sr. Larry Smith started the season but after 5 games, he has given way to the emerging Jordan Rodgers, brother of NFL quarterback, Aaron Rodgers. While Jordan may not quite be on the level of Aaron, he has given the Commodores some moxie and swagger that they can feed off of.
For the Cats, a change at QB last week also seemed to give the team a boost; Morgan Newton appears to be out of the starting role for the remainder of this season as freshman QB Maxwell Smith has given the offense new life. But Smith is not the only reason the Cat’s offense has looked better recently; RB Cozik Williams has posted two 100+ yard efforts in three starts and he looks like the spark the Cats needed in the run department. But when you examine this match-up, the key will be defense and which one can impose their will the best. The Cats are better against the run than the pass where as the Commodores are the opposite as their secondary is full of “ball-hawks” when the ball is in the air. Vandy would love to establish RB Zack Stacy early on just to take some pressure off of Rodgers. If he can’t get going (i.e. against Florida last week) then that means Rodgers would have to do more with not only his arm, but his feet as well.
The Cats would love to start the game off with balance, get Williams some early carries but also get Smith some early, easy completions. With so much riding on this game, it easy to see this one being a close game with the outcome being decided in the final stanza. The ‘Dores are an early 12 – 13 point favorite……I say it will be closer than that though. I think the Cats cover the spread but Vandy gets the win in a 28-26 cliff-hanger.