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Kentucky (2-7) at Vanderbilt (5-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 16, 12:21 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Vanderbilt Stadium (40,350) -- Nashville, Tennessee. Television: SEC Network. Home Record: UK 2-4, Vanderbilt 3-2. Away Record: UK 0-2, Vanderbilt 2-2. Neutral Record: UK 0-1, Vanderbilt 0-0. Conference Record: UK 0-5, Vanderbilt 2-4. Series Record: Kentucky leads, 41-40-4.
GAME NOTES: The Kentucky Wildcats will attempt to halt their lengthy SEC losing streak on Saturday afternoon, as they take on the Vanderbilt Commodores in Nashville.
Kentucky managed to snap a five-game slide on Nov. 2 in its Homecoming matchup versus FCS foe Alabama State with a 48-14 triumph, but it fell back to its losing ways last week against nationally-ranked Missouri, 48-17. The Wildcats are now 0-5 in SEC play and have lost 13 consecutive league affairs, with their last conference win coming versus Tennessee in November of 2011.
Vanderbilt made history with its 34-17 victory over Florida last weekend. Not only was the triumph its first over the Gators in 22 years, but it was the team's first win in Gainesville since 1945. The Commodores are now 5-4 overall and 2-4 in the SEC, and with one more win they will become bowl eligible for the third straight season for the first time in program history.
In an incredibly close series, Kentucky is clinging to a 41-40-4 advantage over Vanderbilt. The Commodores have captured the last two meetings though, including a 40-0 rout in Lexington on Nov. 3, 2012.
Not surprisingly, Kentucky has one of the worst offenses in the SEC this year, the team putting up just 23.2 points and 358.9 yards per game. Last week, the unit tallied 369 yards, but many of those came late with the outcome no longer in doubt.
After splitting snaps with Maxwell Smith earlier in the season, Jalen Whitlow has taken over as the club's full-time starter. Considering how poorly his team has performed this year, Whitlow has played well, completing nearly 65 percent of his passes for 915 yards with five touchdowns and an interception, while also posting strong rushing numbers (395 yards, six TDs).
Whitlow's favorite target in the passing game is Javess Blue, who has caught 31 passes for 407 yards and two touchdowns. Ryan Timmons (27 catches, 295 yards, two TDs) has also been active, but he is listed as questionable for this bout with a shoulder injury.
The Wildcats' strength is their rushing attack, which generates just shy of 160 yards per game. Jojo Kemp (435 yards, two TDs) and Raymond Sanders (404 yards, three TDs) share the workload with Whitlow.
Defensively, Kentucky has shown improvement under first-year head coach Mark Stoops (29.6 ppg), but last week the unit was torched by a potent Missouri offense, resulting in seven touchdowns allowed. The defense has been opportunistic with 10 fumble recoveries, but it also has only one interception.
Avery Williamson is one of the best linebackers in the SEC and has tallied 82 tackles and recovered a pair of fumbles. Alvin Dupree and Za'Darius Smith create a strong pass rush with 5.5 sacks apiece.
Vanderbilt has an average offense by SEC standards, as it averages 32.3 points per game, but if it can keep the pace up over the final three games, it will mark its highest scoring season since World War II.
Since Austyn Carta-Samuels went down with an ankle injury, freshman signal caller Patton Robinette has taken over as the starter. He is completing less than 57 percent of his passes with just one touchdown and three interceptions, but despite rushing for a modest 90 yards, he has accounted for four scores on the ground.
Jordan Matthews has been outstanding at receiver this season with 71 receptions for 935 yards and five touchdowns, and he recently became the SEC's all-time leader in receiving yards. Jonathan Krause (32 catches, 608 yards, three TDs) is out with a leg injury.
Jerron Seymour has emerged as the featured running back, turning 118 carries into 541 yards and 12 touchdowns. He averaged less than three yards per carry last week against Florida, but made up for it by plunging into the end zone three times.
The Commodores defense (28.8 ppg, 384.8 ypg) has taken a step backward from a fantastic 2012 campaign, but the unit has risen to the occasion recently, including in last week's win when it forced the Gators into four turnovers.
Kenny Ladler is in the midst of an All-SEC-type season at safety. Not only does he lead the team with 73 tackles, but he has been active in the turnover battle with three interceptions and four forced fumbles. Kyle Woestmann (5.5 sacks) and Caleb Azubike (9.5 TFL, 4.0 sacks) anchor the defensive line.
Even without its starting quarterback, Vandy is trending in the right direction with bowl season right around the corner, and at home it should have no problem running past Kentucky to hand the Wildcats yet another SEC loss.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Vanderbilt 35, Kentucky 24
11/14 16:04:18 ET
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