Kentucky at Vanderbilt: Keys to Saturday's game

November 15, 2013 

  • Tennessee at Kentucky

    When: 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 30

    TV: ESPNU

    Records: Kentucky 2-9 (0-7 SEC); Tennessee 4-7 (1-6)

Quick facts about Saturday's University of Kentucky football game at Vanderbilt:

THE GAME

Kentucky (2-7, 0-5 SEC) at Vanderbilt (5-4, 2-4)

When: 12:21 p.m.

Where: Nashville's Vanderbilt Stadium

TV: SEC Network (WKYT-Channel 27 in Lexington)

Radio: WLAP-AM 630, WBUL-FM 98.1, XM Channel 200, Sirius Channel 139

Series: Kentucky leads 41-40-4

Last meeting: Vanderbilt won 40-0 in Commonwealth Stadium on Nov. 3, 2012.

Line: Vanderbilt is favored by 121/2.

THE KEYS

Make a muscle

In outscoring Kentucky a combined 78-8 in two blowout victories in the past two seasons, Vanderbilt has shoved the Cats around at the line of scrimmage. Last year, the Commodores outrushed UK 227-101. Two years ago in Nashville, it was 203-32. To send a message that things will be different in 2013, the Wildcats need to bring the lumber and bring it early Saturday.

Protect the football

The Wildcats need to be especially stingy with the giveaways against a Vanderbilt defense that forced four turnovers last Saturday against Florida and turned three interceptions into 21 points to ignite the Commodores' first victory in Gainesville since 1945. Kentucky has been good about ball security lately. Raymond Sanders' lost fumble last week against Missouri is UK's only turnover in its past five games.

Pressure a young QB

Before senior Austyn Carta-Samuels (three 300-plus yard passing games this season) was sidelined by a leg injury, Vanderbilt's offense was pass happy. With redshirt freshman Patton Robinette (6-for-12 passing for 57 yards at Florida) starting the past two games, Vandy has moved to more of a ground-heavy emphasis. If Robinette, a Maryville, Tenn., product, is again the Vanderbilt starter, it would behoove UK to try to force him out of "game manager" role and make him try to win the game with his arm.

THE MOOD

Seems headed toward indifference. A much-anticipated UK men's basketball season is underway and it has taken a lot of oxygen out of the football interest. For UK football to succeed long-term, Vanderbilt is a team the Wildcats must consistently beat. An upset against a Vandy program on the ascendancy under James Franklin would be significant for Mark Stoops.

MARK STORY

Mark Story: (859) 231-3230. Email: mstory@herald-leader.com. Twitter: @markcstory. Blog: markstory.bloginky.com.

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