Bad weather and Kentucky-Vanderbilt football seem to go hand in hand. If you've followed UK football for any significant period of time, you've seen plenty of cold and dreary November games between the Wildcats and Commodores.
But this one might take the cake.
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Saturday night's nationally televised ESPN2 game between UK (6-4, 2-4 SEC) and Vandy (5-4, 3-3) will be the first night game between the schools since the Cats' 19-17 win back in 1999. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m with the forecast calling for wind, rain and snow showers with temperatures in the 30s as the evening progresses.
"I think this game should be very interesting," UK Coach Rich Brooks said. "It's looking like the weather will be a major factor, and with the cold, wet and rain, you'd expect it to have an impact on the game."
Brooks noted that neither team has been lighting up the scoreboard even in good conditions. Kentucky is averaging just 18.1 points in six Southeastern Conference games, although its offense finally came to life in a 42-38 loss to Georgia last week. Vandy has been struggling even more than the Wildcats, scoring 14 points or less in their past five games.
No matter the weather, UK defensive end Jeremy Jarmon said the team is prepared for anything. The players' winter conditioning last off-season included flipping tires through the snow.
"We'll be ready," Jarmon said. "We're not going to be too worried about the weather. That's one of the reasons we prepared like we did in the off-season."
Vanderbilt Coach Bobby Johnson also didn't seem too concerned about the weather.
"The weather up there isn't bad," he said. "It can be kind of damp and cold, but it is nothing severe. It's not a spring day in Nashville, but it's exactly what you expect when playing football in the middle of November."
More so than the weather, the key for Kentucky will be to get its defense back on track after getting torched for 520 yards by Georgia.
"We need to get back to playing the kind of defense we have played most of the season instead of the kind of defense we played last week," Brooks said.
Jarmon said the defense is champing at the bit to erase last week's performance.
"We're ready to come out and show that we're better than that," he said. "Our pride was hurt a little bit, and we know that in order for us to win this game, we've got to come out and play like we're capable. We want to show that we're the same defense that was getting after teams early in the year."
Offensively, Kentucky will again put the ball in the hands of freshman quarterback Randall Cobb, who jump-started things last week against Georgia by running the option. But the element of surprise will now be gone, and Cobb's ball handling will need to be top- notch in the bad weather.
"They've had a week to prepare (for Cobb) so that negates the advantage a little bit," Brooks said. "And you never know with a wet ball. It could be slipping and sliding everywhere."