Despite its four-game losing streak, Kentucky is still in the hunt for a bowl berth and a win Saturday at Vanderbilt would certainly help the Wildcats’ cause. But the Commodores aren’t going to be a pushover despite dropping out of bowl contention with a hard-fought 9-7 loss to No. 10 Florida last week.
Vanderbilt’s offense has struggled throughout the season, scoring more than 17 points once, but the team’s defense - ranked No. 19 in the nation in yards allowed - has kept the team in many games. Still, the offense needs to step up at least some, though Kentucky held the Commodores to only a defensive touchdown in their last meeting. The Wildcats’ offense has looked uninspired over the last few weeks, including last week’s 27-3 loss at Georgia. Coach Mark Stoops may look to shake things up for this one, saying the starting quarterback position - held all year by Patrick Towles - is up for grabs this week.
TV: 4 p.m. ET, SEC Network. LINE: Vanderbilt -3
ABOUT KENTUCKY (4-5, 2-5 SEC): Towles has thrown for 2,010 yards and nine touchdowns this season, but also has 12 interceptions, and backup Drew Barker has shown enough to make Stoops think about putting him as the starter this week. Barker, a redshirt freshman, has played in two games, completing 8-of-11 passes for 47 yards and one interception. “Whoever gives us the best chance to go into Vandy and win will take the first snaps,” Stoops told reporters. “And if both guys are ... if we feel confident in both guys, or if one’s struggling, we’ll go to the other.”
ABOUT VANDERBILT (3-6, 1-4): While the Commodores don’t put up a lot of points – averaging 14.8 – the team has been able to move the ball in most games. Mason said his team is starting to understand that hanging onto the ball and not turning it over is a key, after the team has committed 21 turnovers through the first nine games, which will allow the team to expand its offense. “It all starts with taking care of the football,” Mason told reporters. “What you can do from there is figure out what exactly you need to do to make sure you get guys touches and get guys into the game.”
1. Kentucky is looking for its third SEC win, which would be the first time since 2009 that the Wildcats would have accomplished the feat.
2. Commodores RB Ralph Webb, who set the school freshman rushing record a year ago, is 67 yards away from setting the Vanderbilt sophomore rushing mark.
3. Vanderbilt leads the series 42-41-4.
PREDICTION: Kentucky 20, Vanderbilt 13