Tennessee vs. Kentucky prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins the SEC East matchup between the Volunteers and Wildcats.
Tennessee vs. Kentucky Game Preview
When: Saturday, November 12 – 12:00 p.m. ET
Where: Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, TN
TV Broadcast: SEC Network
This season has turned into a nightmare for the Volunteers, with the bottom having fallen out over the past month. Still, they are bowl eligible, and can send quarterback Joshua Dobbs out with a good feeling. Losing to Kentucky would not be included in that.
Kentucky had a chance to be tied at the top of the SEC East, but a close, 27-24 defeat to Georgia has the Wildcats gloomy going into the game. The Wildcats have been playing well, though, and should challenge a Tennessee team that has so many question marks.
What To Know About Tennessee
We didn’t learn much about the Volunteers in the win against Tennessee Tech, but we should know more about them after this battle. The one constant is Dobbs, who has been the leader on and off the field for some time now. The senior and running back John Kelly should be able to move the ball against the Wildcats, who rank 84th in the nation in total defense, allowing 425.6 yards per game.
The Vols defense is banged up, but the talent is still there. They will have to stop running backs Boom Williams and freshman phenom Benny Snell, and put the pressure on Stephen Johnson to win the game with his arm.
What to Know About Kentucky
As stated above, the Kentucky offense will rely heavily on Williams and Snell as long as Barker is out. Johnson doesn’t have quite the arm or experience to beat a team by throwing the ball, so setting up the pass with the run is crucial.
The defense will focus on frustrating Dobbs, as the running back situation for Tennessee is thin. The Wildcats have been decent against the pass, so keeping Dobbs in the pocket and not losing contain will be a focus for Kentucky.
Offense: Tie. With the Volunteers so snake bitten with injuries, Butch Jones will have to find playmakers from somewhere else.
Defense: Tennessee. Freshman defensive back Nigel Warrior could become the next star for the Vols.
Special Teams: Tie. Both kickers are good, but not exactly reliable at all times.
Coaching: Tie. Can Butch Jones survive another season like this?
Intangibles: Kentucky. A win gets the Wildcats to a bowl game, and would be only the second time since 1984 that they defeated the Vols.
Matchup To Watch
John Kelly vs. the Wildcats front seven
No Hurd and no Kamara, but Kelly is trying to take both of their place by myself.
Tennessee vs. Kentucky Betting Odds
Spread: Tennessee -13
Tennessee vs. Kentucky Prediction
If Mark Stoops wants to become beloved in Lexington, beating Tennessee in Knoxville and finally clinching a bowl game will be the way to do it. The duo of Williams and Snell will give the Volunteers problems, but the lack of passing game will haunt the Wildcats. Dobbs will somehow will the Vols to a win in a close one as Tennessee holds onto their grasp of this rivalry.
Tennessee vs. Kentucky Score Prediction: Tennessee 31, Kentucky 23