5 Kentucky Wildcats To Watch On Saturday Vs. Tennessee

Vols

Terry Wilson, QB #3

Sep 8, 2018; Gainesville, FL, USA; Kentucky Wildcats quarterback Terry Wilson (3) throws the ball at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Kentucky Wildcats defeated the Florida Gators 27-16. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Wilson was the captain of this Kentucky team last season before tearing a tendon in his knee in the second game of the year. Lynn Bowden took over in his stead and became an All-American, but the offensive scheme didn’t really change, that much. With Wilson, this is still a run-first offense that throws the ball sparingly and not very well.

Through three games, Wilson is 46-of-75 for 463 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. He isn’t going to beat many people through the air. But, like Bowden, he is still a threat with his legs. He has posted 221 yards and three touchdowns on 48 rush attempts (stat includes sacks and sack yardage).

In short, this is the same Kentucky offense we’ve come to know the past couple years. One dimensional, yet consistent. Wilson may drop back to pass 20 times and complete 12 passes, but he’s just as likely to get 80 yards with his legs.

Josh Ali, WR #6

Josh Ali.
UK falls to Ole Miss, 42-41.
Photo by Chet White | UK Athletics

When Wilson does throw the ball, there’s a strong chance it’s going to Ali. Through three games, Ali has 18 catches for 208 yards. The next closest on the team in catches is Demarcus Harris with six, and the next closest in receiving yards is Akeem Hayes with 54 yards.

Basically, Ali is their only consistent receiving weapon.

“But AJ,” you’re probably saying to your screen. “Didn’t you just tell us that Kentucky is a run first offense? Why are you telling us about a receiver???”. Because, dear reader, Tennessee has not done a very good job defending the other teams’ top receiver this season.

I warned you about Shi Smith before he posted 140 yards and a touchdown on 10 catches.

I tried to warn you about Jalen Knox before the original post got deleted and he went for 50 yards on 5 touches. Which wasn’t too bad in retrospect.

And I warned you about Kearis Jackson before he had 91 yards and a touchdown last weekend.

Ali is in the worst offensive set up of the players above to highlight his talents. But don’t say I didn’t warn you when he has a big day Saturday.

Asim “AJ” Rose, RB #10

Kavoisiey Smoke probably won’t play this weekend because of a rib injury. Which is a bit of a shame, because I never get tired of reminding people about Busta Rhymes in his prime and the genius of “Pass the Courvoisier, Part II”.

We’ve already covered Wilson’s ability to run the ball.

Then there’s Christopher Rodriguez Jr., who is more of an early down back. He has 184 yards and three touchdowns on 33 touches.

But of all the backs on this Kentucky team, Rose is probably the most complete. He can catch and block just as well as he can run the ball. He’s totaled 170 yards and a touchdown on 30 rushes to go along with 45 receiving yards on five catches. Again, Kentucky doesn’t throw the ball much, but he’s on the field as an outlet when they do.

DeAndre Square, ILB #5

This Kentucky defense is good. Not great, like the Georgia defense Tennessee just faced, but still pretty good. And in the middle of it all is Square.

Square has been a key player for the Wildcats since he set foot on campus as a freshman. He played in all 13 games and was named 1st Team Freshman All-SEC. He picked up where he left off in his sophomore season, starting 12 games and finishing second on the team in tackles with 69.

Now, he is second on the team with 21 tackles, and is looking more and more like an NFL-level linebacker every game. He is fast and reads the game well. If Tennessee runs the ball more than 30 times, like they should, Square could have 10+ tackles Saturday afternoon.

Jamar Watson, OLB #31

Watson is the best pass rusher on this team. By a lot. And if Tennessee’s game last weekend against Georgia was any indicator, a good pass rush can absolutely ruin their offense.

Watson was Preseason 2nd Team All-SEC coming in to this season, and he already has two sacks through three games. Over the previous two seasons, he had 11.5 sacks through 25 games. Pretty good, but he’s no world-beater.

Make no mistake, though. The only reason Watson is even mentioned on this list is because Tennessee’s offensive line gave up 20 QB hurries and five sacks last weekend. The odds of us hearing Watson’s name called this weekend are high.