After a disappointing loss to Ole Miss a week ago, Kentucky looks to rebound against Vanderbilt on Saturday in Nashville. Here are SEC Country’s predictions for the game.
Joe Mussatto: 4-0 in Week 10, 27-15 overall
Kyle Tucker: 2-2 in Week 10, 20-22 overall
Kentucky football vs. Vanderbilt over/unders
Kyle Shurmur passing touchdowns: 2.5
Joe Mussatto: Over. Shurmur has thrown 20 touchdowns, second most in the SEC, against 3 interceptions. Vanderbilt has an underrated passing attack. The Commodores are fifth in the SEC with 220 passing yards per game. And seeing how Kentucky has played the pass this year, worst in the SEC, there’s no reason to think Vanderbilt would hesitate to throw the ball around and find the end zone a few times.
Kyle Tucker: Under. As good as Shurmur has been — 20 touchdowns, 3 interceptions — he’s only thrown for more than 2 touchdowns once in the last four games and twice in the last seven. And for all their struggles stopping the pass, the Wildcats have only given up more than 2 TDs by air twice this season.
Benny Snell rushing yards: 150
Joe Mussatto: Under. Snell needs 103 yards to become the first Kentucky running back to rush for 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons. Vanderbilt’s defense allows 211 rushing yards per game, third worst in the SEC. Snell has gone for 176 and 180 rushing yards in his last two games, and while he should have success on the ground, it’s a lot to expect 150-plus in three straight games.
Kyle Tucker: Over. The Commodores (thanks to Western Kentucky last week) finally ended a streak of six straight games allowing 200-plus rushing yards. Snell has gone over 100 3 times in the last four games and totaled 356 yards and 6 touchdowns the last two weeks. He (and the Wildcats’ retooled O-line) seems to be clicking.
Vanderbilt total yards: 400
Joe Mussatto: Over. Kentucky is giving up 408 yards per game on average, and there’s not much to suggest the defense will look markedly better on Saturday. Perhaps the defense will play with more of an edge coming off a bad performance against Ole Miss, but don’t expect anything close to dominance.
Kyle Tucker: Over. The Commodores have topped that number just 3 times all season, but they’ve averaged 417 yards the last three weeks and Kentucky has allowed no fewer than 441 yards (and 29 points) in its last four games. Consider: In its last five games, lowly Tennessee has managed 142, 253, 108 and 201 total yards — but 445 against Kentucky.
Kentucky football vs. Vanderbilt predictions
Joe Mussatto: It’s hard to believe Kentucky hasn’t won at Vanderbilt since 2009, but I think that home winning streak against the Wildcats continues Saturday. Yes, Vanderbilt is 0-5 in the SEC, but those losses have come against Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Ole Miss and South Carolina. Kentucky, which is 3-3 in the SEC and beat South Carolina, would likely be 1-4 had it played Vanderbilt’s conference slate. Running back Ralph Webb’s numbers are down from last year, but Shurmur could give a shaky Kentucky secondary problems through the air. Vanderbilt 30, Kentucky 23.
Kyle Tucker: I think Kentucky feels under fire, doubted and perhaps on the edge of collapse with No. 1 UGA and the reigning Heisman winner to come. So my hunch is the Cats play like a team that, yes even at 6-3, has its back to the wall. Kentucky 27, Vanderbilt 24.