Middle Tennessee vs. Kentucky fearless prediction and game preview.
Date: Saturday, November 17
Game Time: 12:00 ET
Venue: Kroger Field, Lexington, KY
Network: SEC Network
Middle Tennessee (7-3) vs. Kentucky (7-3) Game Preview
One Reason Why Middle Tennessee Will Win
The Kentucky running game has stopped.
Benny Snell is trying to do his part, and he’s still pounding away, but defenses have finally been able to hold up and stop what’s coming. The Wildcats have failed to hit the 100-yard rushing mark in four of the last five games, and they’ve lost three of those four games, needing a miracle in the other one against Missouri.
The Blue Raider defensive front has been terrific over the second half of the season, with more of a pass rush, and far better play against the run. After giving up 200 yards or more on the ground in three straight games, no one has hit the mark in any of the last five, allowing just three rushing touchdowns during the span.
On the other side, QB Brent Stockstill has gotten red hot at the right time, connecting on 70% or more of his throws in four of the last five games, and 11 touchdown passes in the last four.
The game should stay low scoring throughout. With the veteran quarterback who won’t be fazed by the SEC defense or the environment, and the defense that’s great at taking the ball away, the formula is there for the Blue Raiders to stay in the game until late.
One Reason Why Kentucky Will Win
How do you beat Kentucky? You run the ball really, really well.
Georgia ripped off 331 yards two weeks ago, and Tennessee pounded away for 215 yards last week. Throw in the 164 yards that Texas A&M came up with, and UK is 7-0 when allowing teams to rush for 163 yards or fewer, and 0-3 when giving up more.
Middle Tennessee averages just 140 yards per game on the ground, with a running game that only works against defenses that can’t hold up.
It’s been a long season, but Middle Tennessee lost to Vanderbilt and Georgia on the road in September, only scoring seven points in each one. The run defense didn’t hold up well in either loss, but the big key is turnover margin.
Middle Tennessee is 0-3 when it loses the turnover battle – going -5 in the three losses – and 7-0 when it’s even or wins the fight.
UK has only lost the turnover margin twice since the opening win over Central Michigan, but …
What’s Going To Happen
UK is -2 in turnovers in two of the last three games, giving it up eight times in the last four games.
Middle Tennessee will be good enough to give this a bit of a fight, but the Kentucky defense will drop the hammer when it has to.
Yeah, the Blue Raiders have been hot, but they’re beating up on a bunch of mediocre-to-awful Conference USA teams. The defense will come up with two takeaways to keep this from getting out of hand, but the Cats will hold up when they have to in the second half.
It won’t be pretty, but it’ll be a Kentucky win. So, things will be back to normal.
Fearless Prediction & Line
Kentucky 24, Middle Tennessee 14
Line: Kentucky -16, o/u: 44.5
ATS Confidence out of 5: 3
Must See Rating: 2.5
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