UK Football

Blue Preview: UK out to beat Petrino in Governor’s Cup for first time

Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson spent a lot of time eluding Kentucky tacklers while leading a Cardinals rally from 24-7 down at halftime to a 38-24 victory in last season’s UK-U of L game in Commonwealth Stadium.
Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson spent a lot of time eluding Kentucky tacklers while leading a Cardinals rally from 24-7 down at halftime to a 38-24 victory in last season’s UK-U of L game in Commonwealth Stadium. cbertram@herald-leader.com

Kentucky

at No. 11 Louisville

When: Noon, Saturday

Where: Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium

TV: ESPN (play-by-play Mike Patrick; analysis Ed Cunningham; sideline Dr. Jerry Punch)

Radio: WLAP-AM 630, WBUL-FM 98.1, XM Channel 81, Sirius Channel 81

Records: Kentucky 6-5 (4-4 SEC); Louisville 9-2 (7-1 ACC)

Series: Is tied 14-14, though Louisville leads the modern series (since 1994) 14-8 and has won five in a row

Last meeting: Louisville won 38-24 at Commonwealth Stadium on Nov. 28, 2015

Favorite: Louisville is favored by 24 points.

The storyline

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.

The mood

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.

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