at No. 11 Louisville
When: Noon, Saturday
Where: Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium
Series: Is tied 14-14, though Louisville leads the modern series (since 1994) 14-8 and has won five in a row
Favorite: Louisville is favored by 24 points.
Kentucky strives to enhance its standing in the SEC bowl hierarchy and derail the Heisman Trophy candidacy of Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson by claiming the Governor’s Cup for the first time since 2010.
On the spot
The UK defense. Dual-threat quarterbacks have long been Kryptonite to Kentucky defenses — and Louisville’s Lamar Jackson is an exceptional version. A Wildcats defense that was gashed two weeks ago by a good run/pass QB, Tennessee’s Joshua Dobbs (147 yards rushing, two TDs; 223 yards passing, three TDs), must slow down an even better one, Jackson, to give the Cats any shot at an upset of The Ville.
The big threat
Lamar Jackson. Kentucky got a first-hand look in last year’s Governor’s Cup game at what a special player the Louisville quarterback would be when Jackson ran for 186 yards and two touchdowns and threw for 135 yards and a TD while rallying the Cardinals from a 24-7 halftime deficit to a 38-24 victory. This season, Jackson has run for 1,645 yards and thrown for 3,109. The 6-foot-3, 205-pound sophomore has personally accounted for 47 touchdowns — 19 rushing and 28 passing.
Is sort of meh. Most reasonable UK fans set six wins and bowl-eligibility as the baseline goal for Mark Stoops and the Cats in 2016 and both have been achieved. But Kentucky does not have that one victory that stokes the fires of a fan base. Beating Bobby Petrino for the first time in a Governor’s Cup game would do some serious stoking.