We’re beautifully close to football season, and even though last year was the worst year of all time, there’s actually some reason to be hopeful. For that reason, we’re breaking down each game we’ll play this year, and exploring a little bit about each opponent. Ultimately we’ll make some levels of predictions about our chances, for better or for worse. Be sure to follow us on Twitter @ArkansasFight to keep up with all the latest posts, and don’t forget to sign up to be a pollster for our site!
Week 4- September 21, 2019
Kroger Field in Lexington, KY— the second-least favorite Lexington for British people.
Mark Stoops of the legendary Stoops Clan has been at the helm of Kentucky since 2013. He’s turned in average, if not pedestrian seasons for the bulk of his tenure, but last year, the Cats surprised everyone, and rattled off a 10 win season. I suppose the jury is out on if this will be a trend going forward, but Stoops comes from a great coaching family, and has posted one of the best records in recent memory at Kentucky— he shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Our Record Against Them:
Oddly enough, the Hogs have only played the Wildcats 7 times in history. I found that number surprisingly low, but considering we only joined the SEC in the 90’s, I suppose there hasn’t been much time. Regardless, Kentucky currently leads the series 4-3. When last we played in 2012, one John L. Smith led Arkansas to a 49-7 destruction that ended up abandoned due to lightning. That game was at home and featured a young Jonathan Williams scoring not one, but TWO 74+ yard touchdowns off of passes from Tyler Wilson. Oh to be a 4 win team again.
Logan Stenberg and Drake Jackson: These two offensive linemen were voted Third Team All-SEC honors this summer and for a good reason. Stenberg is a senior left guard who started all 13 games for Kentucky last year. Jackson is a junior center who did the same. Both played key roles in blocking for running back Bennie Snell who became the first player in Kentucky history to rush for 1000 yards in 3 straight seasons.
Kash Daniel: Daniel was voted Third Team All-SEC after turning in a terrific campaign at linebacker for the Wildcats in 2018. He played in 12 out of 13 games and finished with 84 total tackles and 7.5 tackles for loss. The Arkansas line will have to be aware of him constantly.
A Very Short Recap of Their Last Season:
Kentucky had an incredible and shocking year last year, as they fought back against predictions and finished second in the SEC East. Phenomenal seasons by 7th pick in the NFL Draft LB Josh Allen, and by 4th round pick running back Bennie Snell helped the Cats finish 10-3, suffering losses only to Texas A&M, Georgia, and Tennessee. They went on to beat Penn State in the Citrus Bowl. While the losses of Allen and Snell will hurt, the Wildcats should be riding high heading into the new season.
How We Feel About Our Chances:
This is a tough one to call. On one hand, Kentucky is coming off a historically good year, and maintained a good coaching staff. That’s going to be hard to overcome. On the other hand, it’s Kentucky, and last year feels more like an anomaly than a continuous trend. Either prediction I make will likely come back to bite me, so for optimism’s sake, let’s say that the good guys snatch a road victory early against Kentucky to maybe become bowl eligible(?)*.
Thanks for checking out the first part of our series on Arkansas’ 2019 Football Season, be sure to sign up for our SB Nation poll, and follow @ArkansasFight on Twitter. For other opinions and hopefully more joke-bits, follow @TuckerPartridge.