Kentucky Wildcats players run onto the field before the first half an NCAA college football game against Murray State in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018. (AP Photo/Bryan Woolston)

Vanderbilt Hosts Kentucky to Open Conference Play

The undefeated Kentucky Wildcats (3-0) are traveling to FirstBank Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee, this weekend to face the Vanderbilt Commodores (2-2). This is each team’s first game of the season against an SEC opponent.

Kentucky is coming off of a 35-3 win over the Akron Zips. Vanderbilt, on the other hand, has suffered back-to-back losses. Last week, the UNLV Rebels beat the Commodores by three in a close game that ended 40-37.

Take Care of the Ball

Both Kentucky and Vanderbilt are having trouble taking care of the ball. The Wildcats had one interception and four fumbles, two of which were lost in their win last week. The Commodores had one interception and five fumbles, three of which were lost in their loss last week.

Kentucky’s starting quarterback Devin Leary has thrown one interception per game thus far, and Vanderbilt’s AJ Swann has kept the same pace with four interceptions in four games. However, unlike Leary, Swann has not turned the ball over every week. He didn’t turn it over in his first game, but a rough game against Wake Forest lead to two picks.

Watch Out for the Stars

London Humphreys had a big game for the Commodores after recording three receptions for 102 yards and a touchdown. Will Sheppard and Jayden McGowan also proved to be reliable weapons for Swann as each one had five catches for 97 and 81 yards, respectively.

One man stole the show for the Wildcats last weekend, as running back Ray Davis had seven carries for 72 yards and one rushing touchdown. Davis also caught three balls for 97 yards and a receiving touchdown. Leary developed a strong passing attack with not only Davis, but also Jordan Dingle and Tayvion Robinson. Dingle had four catches for 89 yards and Robinson had five catches for 86 yards and a touchdown.

In the Air

Both teams have created strong passing attacks, averaging over 280 passing yards per game. Swann ranks fourth in the nation in passing yards with 1,101 and is tied for fourth for most passing touchdowns with 11. Sheppard is also tied for first place for most reviving touchdowns with six. This can be taken with a grain of salt as Vanderbilt stared the season in week 0, giving them an extra game for stats over most other teams.

It’s a good thing that Vanderbilt can move the ball through the air because Kentucky’s front seven has proven to be formidable. The Wildcats have recorded 10 sacks in their three games and are 25th in stopping the run.

This is a big game for Florida fans, as it’ll provide a preview for the Gators’ next two opponents.

The Orange & Blue will travel to Kentucky on Sept. 30 and then host the Commodores Oct. 7.

Kickoff is at noon this Saturday, as the Wildcats fight to stay undefeated and the Commodores look to avoid a third straight loss.

About Michael Tubbs

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