An SEC East brawl that has divisional stakes as well as national title implications is set for Saturday when No. 3 Tennessee plays host to No. 19 Kentucky. (Follow along HERE for in-game updates.) With a trip to No. 1 Georgia that could decide the division on Nov. 5, Tennessee will need to keep its focus on the present and avoid a trap as it hosts a Wildcats team that will be seeking revenge.
The only home loss Kentucky suffered during a 10-3 effort last year came against Tennessee as the Volunteers escaped Lexington with a 45-42 win despite allowing 612 yards. This year's version of the Wildcats rank No. 84 in total offense with just 373.7 yards per game, but they should be able to move the football against Tennessee.
A downside to the Volunteers' electric, quick-strike offense is that their defense ends up spending massive amounts of time on the field. Tennessee ranks No. 1 in total offense and scoring offense but is No. 122 in time of possession and No. 103 in total defense. In last season's game, Kentucky possessed the football for more than 46 minutes. In the end, the Wildcats couldn't quite keep up with the high-flying Volunteers. Now, they have a chance to try again.
How to watch Tennessee vs. Kentucky live
Date: Saturday, Oct. 29 | Time: 7 p.m. ET
Location: Neyland Stadium -- Knoxville, Tennessee
TV: ESPN | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
Tennessee vs. Kentucky: Need to know
Will Levis' health: Kentucky quarterback Will Levis is "getting better," coach Mark Stoops said this week. Levis returned from a foot injury and played through a shoulder injury in the Wildcats' 27-17 win over Mississippi State two weeks ago. With a bye week after that game, Levis should be much closer to 100% after gutting it out against the Bulldogs. The projected first-round NFL Draft pick has 13 touchdowns to just five interceptions.
Hendon Hooker for Heisman: The campaign is on for Tennessee's super-senior quarterback to win the Heisman Trophy. The Virginia Tech transfer has thrown for 18 touchdowns and just one interception in seven games into the season. He's also run for 315 yards and three touchdowns while proving to have a knack for escaping the pocket. Expect plenty of NFL scouts to be watching as Hooker and Levis do battle.
Red zone battle: Tennessee ranks No. 4 nationally in red zone touchdown percentage at 82.1% while Kentucky is No. 94 at 56.7%. With the Volunteers ranking No. 13 in red zone defense, the data points to the Wildcats likely getting fewer points out of their best drives than Tennessee. Given how explosive their offense is, holding opponents to field goals marks a big win for the Vols. Settling for field goals in the red zone needs to be a last-resort play situation for the Wildcats reserved for fourth-and-long situations.
Tennessee vs. Kentucky prediction, picks
These teams combined for 87 points last season, and they should score plenty of points again. Though the Wildcats have struggled offensively at times this season, Levis should be closer to 100% this week coming off a bye week. Kentucky is also expected to get leading receiver Tayvion Robinson back from a leg injury and right tackle Jeremy Flax back from a hamstring issue. The weather is supposed to be great, and that means conditions will be ripe for scoring. Prediction: Over 62.5
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