Kentucky Wildcats vs. Tennessee Volunteers – College Football, October 17, 2020
Tennessee and Kentucky each have some positive vibes brewing. Despite losing last weekend in Athens, the Vols are 2-1 and headed in the right direction under Jeremy Pruitt. The Wildcats mangled the Bulldogs last Saturday in Lexington and will arrive in Knoxville with lots of momentum.
Here’s a Kentucky vs. Tennessee prediction for the upcoming game at Neyland Stadium.
Kentucky vs. Tennessee Odds
After opening as a touchdown-favorite, noise from Kentucky’s dominant performance against Mississippi State pushed this line down to Tennessee -6. The total sits at 46, which might even seem high when you consider what the Mark Stoops-led defense accomplished last week.
The Wildcats intercepted the Bulldogs six times and held the MSU rushing attack to a measly 20 yards on 14 carries. In fact, the only reason Mike Leach’s squad even got on the scoreboard was due to a poor snap on an attempted punt that led to a safety.
Terry Wilson remains the Wildcats starting quarterback. For now.
Terry Wilson is Kentucky's quarterback, but Mark Stoops said "Joey's ready to go" if No. 2's number is called. https://t.co/d996s4YVOO— Nick Roush (@RoushKSR) October 14, 2020
Wilson isn’t playing up to the caliber necessary to consistently compete in this conference, but perhaps it’s not all his fault. Receivers outside of Josh Ali need to step up, and the offensive line needs to do a better job at holding their blocks.
Rather than place the burden of beating Tennessee directly on Wilson’s shoulders, the two-headed monster in the backfield should continue seeing plenty of work. Led by Christopher Rodriguez Jr. and Asim Rose, the Cats run the ball on nearly 61% of play-calls – more than any team in the SEC.
If all goes according to plan, Kentucky will stuff the ball down South Carolina’s throat and rely on their defense to get big stops.
Before we knock Jarrett Guarantano for getting off to a sluggish start, let’s not lose sight of the fact that the Vols have played at South Carolina and at Georgia. Things won’t get a heck of a lot easier against the Cats on Saturday, but at least this game is in Knoxville.
Both Eric Gray and Ty Chandler have been equally effective running the football – which needs to take place on Saturday to open up the play-action game for Guarantano. The matchup to watch that’ll help determine a Kentucky vs. Tennessee prediction is the Vols O-line versus the Wildcats defensive front.
Anchored by Trey Smith and Cade Mays, Tennessee’s offensive line is living up to the preseason talk of being the 2nd-best O-Line in the SEC behind only Alabama.
Kentucky vs. Tennessee Pick
The last time Kentucky traveled to Neyland Stadium was in 2018. The Wildcats were ranked 11th in the AP Poll at the time and got dropped by the unranked Vols, 24-7.
Kentucky isn’t as good as they were back then, while UT is much better than their 2018 iteration. For what it’s worth, the Volunteers even beat the Wildcats last season in Lexington.
See where I am going with this?
Tennessee got clobbered last weekend and Kentucky looked sharp, so the recency bias is going to point the casual fan in the direction of backing the Wildcats.
I’ll happily take the other side.