Week 8 Preview: LSU Vs. Kentucky

The Kentucky Wildcats will pay Death Valley a visit as they take on the LSU Tigers this Saturday night.

Both teams are experiencing unusual seasons for their programs. Kentucky is generally at the bottom of the totem pole in the SEC, while LSU is considered a national power house but has struggled at times this season.

Kentucky is 5-1 on the season and looking to take away the top spot in the SEC East from the Georgia Bulldogs. LSU is 5-2 on the season and hoping to keep winning to become bowl eligible.

LSU is coming off of a last-second win against the struggling Florida Gators. Freshman running back Leonard Fournette is coming off of a career game and is finally looking like the number one recruit after starting off slow this season. LSU usually has a running back-by-committee approach but that could be forgotten if Fournette keeps producing at a high level. The quarterback position has been a problem for the Tigers, but after performing well enough to get the job done, Anthony Jennings will get the start against the Wildcats over freshman Brandon Harris.

Kentucky has so far exceeded expectations and are in second place in the SEC East. Their offense revolves around the play of quarterback Patrick Towles and running back Jojo Kemp. Kentucky also has a multiple running back offense with three backs rushing for over 200 yards on the season. Towles does a great job at spreading the ball around and the Wildcats have five receivers with 14 catches or more, led by Ryan Timmons with 27 receptions.

The LSU defense stepped up big time against a run-heavy Florida offense. In games past, LSU has been torn apart up the middle. Mississippi State and Auburn did not have a problem running against the Tigers. LSU did not allow a 100-yard rusher for the first time against a Power-5 opponent this season. Sophomore Kendall Beckwith made the switch from end to middle linebacker in the off-season and has made his way into the starting lineup, replacing the struggling DJ Welter. The Tigers secondary has continued to play well and has not allowed much through the air.

Kentucky’s defense rivals LSU this year with 11 interceptions, 5 forced fumbles and 17 sacks. They rank 15th in the nation in points allowed (18.7). Junior linebacker Josh Forrest leads the team with 46 total tackles and tackles for loss as he holds down the middle of defense. The Wildcats’ secondary has been a problem for opposing quarterbacks and they will look to shut down the athletic LSU receivers.

As well as the Wildcats have been playing, they haven’t played many quality opponents. They have secured wins against struggling SEC East teams such as South Carolina and Vanderbilt. Kentucky has yet to get to the grit of their schedule and have yet to be really tested. LSU has shown signs of greatness but more signs of mediocrity. The Tigers have an incredible home-field advantage in Death Valley and I think it will lead them to a 28-17 victory over the Wildcats.

You can catch the broadcast live on the SEC Network at 7:30 PM EST.


*Section Photo credit to Chris Greythen, Getty Images; Featured Photo (above) credit to Stacey Revere, Getty Images.

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