Mark Story

First Scouting Report: Can Kentucky create some rare positive history vs. Tennessee?

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Game day: Kentucky vs. Missouri

Click below for more of’s coverage of Saturday’s Kentucky-Missouri football game at Kroger Field in Lexington.

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An early look ahead to the Kentucky Wildcats’ next football game:

The opponent

Kentucky (4-4, 2-4 SEC after beating Missouri 29-7) has an open date next Saturday (Nov. 2).

UK will face SEC East foe Tennessee (3-5, 2-3 SEC) on Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019, at Kroger Field. The kickoff time and television information for the game have yet to be announced.

Coach Jeremy Pruitt’s Volunteers beat South Carolina 41-21 Saturday in Knoxville.

While Kentucky will be idle Nov. 2, Tennessee will face UAB at 7 p.m. at Neyland Stadium.

Most recent meeting

Tennessee quarterback Jarrett Guarantano threw two touchdown passes — including a 39-yard scoring toss to Marquez Callaway on the last play of the first half — and the Volunteers defense held Kentucky to 77 yards rushing and 262 yards of total offense and UT upset the No. 12 Wildcats 24-7 at Neyland Stadium in 2018.

Series history

Tennessee leads 80-25-9 and has won 32 of the past 34 meetings.

Jeremy Pruitt after loss to Ga State.JPG
Tennessee Coach Jeremy Pruitt, right, shook hands with Georgia State head man Shawn Elliott after the Panthers stunned UT 38-30 at Neyland Stadium in the 2019 season opener. Wade Payne AP

Know your foe

1. The game with UT should “set up” favorably for UK. The meeting with the Wildcats will be the Volunteers’ fifth game in five weeks, including meetings with SEC titans Georgia (a 43-14 loss) and Alabama (a 35-13 loss). Meanwhile Kentucky enters the game after an open date.

2. As dismal as Kentucky’s all-time record is against Tennessee, the Wildcats will be going for their third victory over the Rocky Toppers in the last five meetings (wins in 2011 and 2017) in Lexington. The last time UK beat UT three times at home in a decade was the 1950s, when the Cats went 4-1 vs. the Vols in Lexington.

3. Like UK, UT has had quarterback instability in 2019. Returning starter Jarrett Guarantano has been benched. Freshman Brian Maurer has shown promise in three starts but has suffered multiple concussions. With Maurer sidelined, both Guarantano (11-of-19 passing for 229 yards and two touchdown passes) and third-string QB J.T. Shrout (7-of-11 for 122 yards and a TD) played against South Carolina.

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Mark Story has worked in the Lexington Herald-Leader sports department since Aug. 27, 1990, and has been a Herald-Leader sports columnist since 2001. I have covered every Kentucky-Louisville football game since 1994, every UK-U of L basketball game but three since 1996-97 and every Kentucky Derby since 1994.