The No. 20 Kentucky Wildcats are back at home to face the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders on Saturday. Kentucky lost the opportunity to finish the season with 10 wins last week, losing 24-7 to a five-win Tennessee. Led by Head Coach Rick Stockstill and his senior quarterback and son Brent Stockstill, Middle Tennessee also sit at 7-3. Despite leading the C-USA East, Stockstill’s team lost to SEC opponents Vanderbilt and Georgia by a combined score of 84-14 this season. The Wildcats are undefeated against Middle Tennessee, winning the second meeting 20-14 in 2008.
A little cold won't stop us ❄️❄️❄️ pic.twitter.com/3gVw33TSnE
— Middle Tennessee FB (@MT_FB) November 14, 2018
Lackluster Offense versus Consistent Scoring
Make it five straight weeks of subpar play by the Kentucky offense. In this time period, Mark Stoops’ men have scored only seven offensive touchdowns, averaging 13.4 points. The Wildcats rank 112 of 129 in total offense, sitting behind the Blue Raiders (85th) and Louisville (111th).
Kentucky can look to junior running back Benny Snell Jr., who has accumulated 10 rushing touchdowns and 1089 rushing yards, with the latter ranking second in the SEC. He also is named a Doak Walker Award semifinalist, an award given to the nation’s top running back.
Additionally, linebacker Josh Allen leads the defense at home for the last time. He will need to maintain a Middle Tennessee offense averaging 42.7 points and 484.3 yards per game in their last three games. Allen was named a semifinalist for the Walter Camp Football Foundation Player of the Year award and is third in the nation in sacks per game. Although the opposition doesn’t match SEC-level play, the Blue Raiders also rank third in the nation in defensive touchdowns and fifth in red zone defense.
Even though the last two games resulted in frustrating losses, Stoops wants to let the seniors go out with a win on Senior Day.
A lot to Play For
The end of the Wildcats SEC schedule can be positive for quarterback Terry Wilson, who fell off in recent weeks. The sophomore started the season strong, ending the Florida Gators 31-game win streak versus his team and beating Mississippi State. However, Wilson is 13th in passing yards in the SEC (1386) and has thrown seven touchdowns and interceptions.
Winning the remaining two games of the season and finishing 9-3 before a bowl game will still defy expectations of Kentucky fans. However, losing even one game can result in huff and puffs after almost reaching the SEC Championship.