Coming off a much needed bye week, the Cats’ return to action at Kroger Field against SEC West foe Arkansas Razorbacks. Both teams are 2-3 on the season and will be looking for a SEC win Saturday.
This marks the first time the two have met in the Stoops Era.
This game will have a deeper meaning to it, as Kentucky Athletics chose to commemorate Jared Lorenzen, the great former UK quarterback, who passed away this summer. Kentucky lost to Arkansas at home 71-63 in seven overtime in Lorenzen's senior year.
Fast forward to 2019, the two teams are in similar situations as they were at that point in the season in 2003 in that both need a win as they both sit around .500.
Kentucky comes into this game having had a lot of difficulties moving the ball the last two games. Sawyer Smith, the current starting quarterback, has dealt with some injuries and the offense had just stalled, something they hope to have corrected in the bye week. The last two games before the bye, Kentucky was 3-27 combined on 3rd down, gave up six sacks, and only scored a combined 20 points.
While Arkansas does not rank high in many defensive categories on defense, senior defensive lineman Jamario Bell is fourth in the SEC with four sacks on the season, and as a team the Razorbacks are fourth in the SEC in sacks with 15, so it will be key not only for Kentucky to start moving the ball consistently, but to protect the quarterback whether it is Sawyer Smith or Lynn Bowden Jr. Bowden is thought to potentially get some snaps this week with Smith still recovering from a shoulder injury.
Defensively, the Cats have not been struggling as much as the offense, but have struggled with defending against the run. The last two games against Mississippi State and South Carolina, Kentucky gave up two 100-yard rushers in each game.
This week, things do not get easier in that department for the Cats as they go up against Arkansas running-back Rakeem Boyd. He has 483 rushing yards on the season, which is third in the SEC, and is averaging 5.3 yards per carry.
The Razorbacks have not had the most success of all the SEC teams recently, but have had some bright spots lately. They had chances to beat No. 25 ranked Texas A&M last week, losing by only four points, 31-27.