Saturday, October 17, 2020, Neyland Stadium, Knoxville Tennessee, noon ET
Wildcats at Volunteers Betting Preview: Wildcats (+6), Volunteers (-6)
Defense was pretty much responsible for Kentucky’s 24-2 win over Mississippi State. The Wildcats (1-2, 1-2 Southeastern Conference) managed only 157 yards in total offense but came up with six interceptions and held Bulldogs coach Mike Leach’s famous Air Raid offense without a touchdown or field goal for the first time.
The Wildcats rushed for only 84 yards and Terry Wilson completed just eight of 20 passes for 73 yard. He also rushed for 50 of Kentucky’s rushing total. The Bulldogs ran off 31 more plays than the Wildcats, who had the ball for just over 25 minutes.
“It was aggravating,” Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said. “It was not good enough for us.”
Wilson has completed 61.3 percent of his 75 pass attempts for 463 yards with two touchdowns against only one interception. He also is the team’s leading rusher with 221 yards.
The Wildcats have rushed for an average of 212.3 yards a game though 408 of the team’s 637 yards came against a beleaguered Ole Miss defense in a 42-41 overtime loss.
After backup Harrison Bailey took all the snaps at quarterback in a scrimmage the day after the 18th-ranked Volunteers (2-1, 2-1 SEC) lost at Georgia, speculation began to arise that the Vols may be looking to make a change with Kentucky coming to town.
Coach Jeremy Pruitt re-affirmed that veteran Jarrett Guarantano will start against the Wildcats.
“Jarrett is our quarterback,” Pruitt said. “He gives us the best chance to have success. When you don’t have a lot of success, the quarterback gets too much blame. When you have a lot of success, the quarterback probably gets too much credit.
“Offensively, our struggle Saturday was not because of one independent person. It was a team effort. We understand that. It starts with us as coaches putting our guys in a better position to have success.”
Guarantano threw two touchdown passes against Georgia in the first half to give the Vols a 21-17 lead at the break.
But the Bulldogs shut out the Vols over the final two quarters and Guarantano threw an interception and lost two fumbles that led to Georgia points.
Wildcats at Volunteers Betting Pick for October, 2020
Though they usually meet in late November, the Volunteers have dominated the series with the Wildcats with 33 wins in the last 35 meetings. The Vols haven’t lost to the Wildcats in Neyland Stadium since 1984. Kentucky’s wins in 2011 and 2017 both came in Lexington.
Wildcats at Volunteers Betting Pick:
Volunteers 21, Wildcats 10
Wildcats at Volunteers Best Bet for October 17, 2020
Both teams have issues on offense, though the Vols’ performance last week at Georgia can be excused somewhat as it came against one of the conference’s best defenses. Kentucky’s shutdown of Mike Leach’s offense at Mississippi State has to be impressive and should help the Wildcats stay within striking range.
Wildcats at Volunteers Best Bet: UNDER 47.5
–Field Level Media