SAMFORD (7-3, 5-3 Southern Conference) Coach: [db]Pat Sullivan[/db] Record: 32-33 in six seasons at Samford, 56-75-1 in 12 seasons overall. Last game: Samford 26, Elon 15 Next game:Regular season complete Roster | No depth chart
Game Information Site: Commonwealth Stadium (67,942) TV: Comcast Sports South (Matt Stewart play-by-play, Cole Cubelic analyst, Angela Mallen sideline) Radio: UK IMG Sports Network (Tom Leach play-by-play, Jeff Piecoro analysis; Dick Gabriel sideline); XM 207; Sirius 92. Internet:Audio | Video Favorite: No line
Series Information Series record: First meeting
Nineteen Kentucky seniors will play their final games at Commonwealth Stadium on Saturday. The complete list of seniors who will be honored before the game:
1. Quick Study: If there was a time during the regular season for UK's young roster -- particularly its freshmen quarterbacks -- to step forward, the bye week might be it. [db]Patrick Towles[/db] and [db]Jalen Whitlow[/db] had time to clear their heads, review more film from early in the year and focus more on self-improvement than an opponent to prepare for. It's later than the coaches would have liked, but there's still time for one of them to find a comfort zone and establish himself for the future. It just has to happen now.
2.Williams Power: Defensive tackle Nicholas Williams leads the Bulldog defense with seven sacks on the season, and he's big enough to cause issues for Kentucky. At 310 pounds, the fifth-year senior has the power to disrupt offenses and create pressure without blitzes behind him. UK should have the size to neutralize him, but if he can win one-on-one matchups it could create problems across the line.
3.He's H-back: Phillips hinted on Thursday that senior quarterback [db]Morgan Newton[/db] could see some time on Saturday as an H-back. He was deployed in that role earlier in the year, but because UK has had an extra week to prepare for this one, Newton might have a couple of gadget plays up his sleeve. Using him as a decoy or for a trick play would also give Tennessee more to game plan for in the season finale.
Ben Jones, Staff Writer: Kentucky 28, Samford 16
UK has let Charleston Southern and Jacksonville State hang around early in the past two years, and Saturday might not be any different. The Bulldogs would like to run the ball, and if the Cats can push the lead to two or three possessions at any point, they'll take a huge advantage. In a season in which UK's freshmen have taken center stage, the seniors will leave Commonwealth Stadium with one more win.
T.J. Walker, Staff Writer: Kentucky 38, Samford 10
Joker Phillips says this game isn't about him, and it's strictly about the seniors. But he's wrong. Every member of Big Blue Nation knows what Saturday has become: an open casket, to Phillips' dismay. Expect his team to not disappoint for his last time in Commonwealth Stadium. A solid rushing attack leads UK to win No. 2.
Aaron Smith, Staff Writer: Kentucky 27, Samford 13
It's the senior send-off and the Joker farewell, and those positive emotions could help the team as it wraps up the home schedule. But more important than the emotional aspect is the talent disparity, an advantage UK has rarely had this season. The running game should power the Cats through to their second win of the season.
Brett Dawson, Publisher: Kentucky 31, Samford 20
The Wildcats' defense won't magically become world-beaters regardless of the emotions associated with sending off Joker Phillips, nor will the talent gap be so wide that Kentucky can expect to win huge. But the Cats are good enough to ride their emotions to their second - and probably final - win under Phillips this season.