Nov 14, 2020; Lexington, Kentucky, USA; Kentucky Wildcats running back Chris Rodriguez Jr. (22) runs the ball down the field during the fourth quarter against the Vanderbilt Commodores at Kroger Field. Rodriguez Jr. wore jersey number 22 in honor of his teammate linebacker Chris Oats, who had a major emergency medical condition this past summer. Mandatory Credit: Arden Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

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Kentucky not dwelling on skid, focused on Vandy

A three-game losing streak has knocked Kentucky out of the Top 25, but the Wildcats have a good chance to finish the regular season on a positive note.

They finish Southeastern Conference play Saturday night in Nashville against Vanderbilt, followed by nonconference games against New Mexico State and Louisville in which they’ll be favored. A 9-3 record could still land Kentucky in a New Year’s Day bowl game.

“As far as team morale and where we’re at, I’m very optimistic,” said Wildcats coach Mark Stoops. “I know our team, I know our leaders, I’ve seen a lot of them, I talked to a lot of them after the game.”

The game Stoops referred to was last week’s 45-42 home loss to Tennessee. Despite controlling the ball for just over 46 minutes and rolling up 612 total yards, Kentucky (6-3, 4-3 SEC) wasn’t able to convert its absurd time of possession advantage into a win.

Stoops has been playing the role of positive thinker when asked about his squad.

“I can promise you, there’s a lot of guys in that building that are motivated to move on and try to go get the next victory,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Commodores (2-7, 0-5) are coming off an open date that has left them as refreshed as an SEC team can be nine games into a 12-game season. They have lost four straight games, including a 37-28 decision at home Oct. 30 against Missouri.

First-year coach Clark Lea could welcome back some important pieces this week. Quarterback Ken Seals, running back Rocko Griffin and linebacker De’Rickey Wright are on track to return after missing the loss to Missouri.

“Hopefully, the time off gives us a chance to launch here at the finish of the season,” Lea said. “We’re battling what every team is battling and that’s the accumulation of the grind and it’s a physical grind, a mental grind. But I’m excited to watch this team through to the finish.”

This will be the 94th meeting between the SEC East Division rivals. The Wildcats own a 47-42-4 advantage, bolstered by five consecutive victories.

–Field Level Media

Field Level Media
Sport Writer & Editor
FLM has a North American focus while tying into regional and hyper-local resources – providing the ability to distribute compelling content through the writing of professional journalists. As the U.S. sports content provider to dozens of digital and print media publishers through strategic partnerships with the likes of Reuters and Nielsen Sports, FLM covers the nuts and bolts with a breaking news desk and game event coverage.

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