By: John Dunn, Rachel Ward, Anthony Cloud and Darrell Winstead
The All Vol Call in Show
November 7, 2019
From their first meeting in 1899 to their last meeting in 2018, Tennessee has dominated the rivalry with Kentucky.
The Wildcats came into Neyland Stadium last year as the eleventh-ranked team in the country and looked to notch their second consecutive victory against the Volunteers after a 29-26 decision in 2017. However, the Volunteers were able to control every facet of the game, and downed the Wildcats decisively 24-7.
Tennessee controls the all-time series with Kentucky 80-25-9, including a winning streak that spanned from 1985-2010.
The Wildcats are coming off of a BYE week and are two weeks removed from downing the Missouri Tigers 29-7 in Lexington. Tennessee is coming off of a homecoming victory against UAB and are two weeks removed from defeating South Carolina decisively in a 41-21 contest in Neyland Stadium.
The Wildcats are starting standout do-it-all wide receiver Lynn Bowden at quarterback after Terry "Touchdown" Wilson was injured earlier this season and his back-up, Troy transfer quarterback Sawyer Smith, was injured as well.
Bowden hasn't been very effective through the air, but has managed to find a lot of success on the ground out of the "Wildcat" look. The Vols look like a completely different team than they did early in the season. With both teams still trying to find out what they're made of, do the Vols have what it takes to rattle of their third straight win of the season? Or will the Wildcats get revenge?
John Dunn: "History is doomed to repeat itself," they say. If that is the case, Tennessee is in good shape here. I'm not sure who we have starting at quarterback, but one thing is for sure, he will be a scholarship quarterback. That's something that the Wildcats don't necessarily have the luxury of right now.
Lynn Bowden is a very capable player, but I don't think he has what it takes to lead the team to victory from the quarterback position. Kentucky's wide receivers aren't the best unit in the nation either.
I firmly believe that Tennessee has the best "do-it-all" player in the country in senior wide receiver Jauan Jennings, but Lynn Bowden is honestly a close second.
The Volunteer's defense has looked to be one of the better defenses in the whole conference the past few weeks after big performances against Miss. St, Alabama, South Carolina and UAB.
I expect Tennessee to force three fumbles and an interception, as well as four sacks. With that much disruption in the backfield, it's going to be a long day for the Wildcats on offense.
I think Kentucky's lack of a passing game will be what gets them in the end. This game may be at Kroger Field, but expect to see some orange in the stands as well.
Prediction: Tennessee; 42-17
Rachel Ward: Both Kentucky and Tennessee have very similar records this season, with Tennessee one rank up in the SEC. To Coach Pruitt, good teams win on the road and he noted that the Vols have yet to do that.
Tennessee has been continuously gaining momentum and improvement with every game. For Kentucky, their progression over the season has been a bit different. Kentucky opened up their season with a 3-0 record before holding up a fight with a top ten ranked Florida team. After that, however, Kentucky suffered losses to Mississippi State and South Carolina—teams that the Vols’ beat quite handily.
UGA and Kentucky’s match up was what many would call a "snooze-fest" in the first half, but the Bulldogs ended the game with a shutout win, a kind of win that didn’t happen against the Vols. Despite their losses, the Wildcats have also seen some improvements with two recent conference wins against Mizzou and Arkansas.
Kentucky’s backup QB, Lynn Bowden, makes plays on his own feet more than he moves the ball through the air. A QB as mobile as Bowden will be something the Vols’ defense will have to watch out for.
Overall, I think the Vols’ have the momentum to continue their improvement. While the Wildcats do have an advantage playing at home & coming off of a bye week, I think the Vols’ will show up ready to keep bowl eligibility alive. And Coach Pruitt might just finally get that on the road win he’s been looking for.
Prediction: Tennessee; 27-17
Anthony Cloud: Given the way Tennessee has played over the course of the last few weeks, nothing really scares me about Saturday’s game at Kroger Field.
Most likely, the Vol defense will see either Lynn Bowden Jr. or Sawyer Smith line up behind center. Which one it is doesn’t really matter. The Vols have the athletes to cover Bowden and three game films to learn his tendencies.
Smith isn’t much of a worry through the passing game. Kentucky’s rush defense hasn’t been the greatest, so Ty Chandler and Tim Jordan should be effective in this game.
Prediction: Tennessee; 24-14
Darrell Winstead: This is one of the oldest rivalries in college football history, beginning way back in 1893. The Vols lead the all-time series by a wide margin, 80-25-9.
Tennessee has dominated the series, but recently a much-improved Wildcat program has made things interesting in the last few seasons. The Vols will head to Lexington, KY this Saturday, in an attempt to tame the Cats.
The Vols will look to lean heavily on their two star receivers Juan Jennings and Marquez Callaway, and will need on-point quarterback play in order for these two to shine.
Kentucky will be without their starting quarterback, Terry Wilson, who they lost for the season. They have also been dealing with some other injuries, so this is a prime opportunity for the Vols to improve their chances of getting to a bowl game.
Prediction: Tennessee; 33-18