Saturday will be special for Kentucky fans as the football program will be honoring Jared Lorenzen. There are a lot of special things planned for those who attend the game at Kroger Field and it’ll be emotional for all of us that enjoyed watching him play and listened to him talk about the sport and program he loves.’
The actual football game has the opportunity to be special as well. It appears that Lynn Bowden will be taking the majority of the snaps as quarterback for the first time since high school. That means that Kentucky’s offense will be a lot different than it was when the season began. I expect to see a lot of run-pass options with either the running back or Bowden taking the ball on the ground. I would expect to see some short passes sprinkled in there as well. As far as the long ball, I imagine that they will only take shots in key spots. Maybe in the first drive they have Bowden show that he’s capable of slinging it down the field to keep the secondary from playing close to the line of scrimmage. Obviously in 3rd and long spots we will have to try to take shots and I would think that on some 2nd downs with favorable position, we could see some shots taken there. The most important thing to me is keeping Bowden from getting injured. He’s obviously are biggest playmaker and now that he’ll be touching the ball every play, it’ll be more likely that an injury happens.
This game will come down to a few things in my opinion, starting the game off right and defense. We’ve started slow in all but one game this season. Toledo had a 7 play 63 yard drive that ended in a touchdown. The Florida game started off with a long drive that ended in an interception which is great and all but after 3 plays on offense we fumbled the ball and Florida drove down the field and scored. Mississippi State started the game with a pick 6 and we never looked right after that. South Carolina had an 11 play 75 yard drive to start off the game and we weren’t able to ever get in that game. So, we need to get going quickly and then play great defense.
Defense has been decent to great most of the year. We’ve allowed some big plays here and there but overall we usually can get good pressure and our secondary is playing better than most people thought they would at the beginning of the year. We have started to allow teams to run on us more effectively but that isn’t Arkansas’ strength. They have some good receivers and it’ll be up to our young guys in the secondary to make plays to keep those guys from getting those big plays. I’d still like to see us do better with these short throws that teams are hitting us with and make them try to go downfield more. That could allow our front seven more time to get to the quarterback and cause disruption.
Overall, Kentucky’s game will rest on Lynn Bowden and his ability to manage the offense and make a few plays. I think he’ll do well with this new role and Kentucky wins 24-14.