JOE COX: Arkansas Game Provides An Opportunity For A New Hero
Saturday night at Kroger Field, Kentucky will play tribute to Jared Lorenzen. The late UK star was a folk hero and a football legend—something between Paul Bunyan and Brett Favre. Perhaps his most famous game was a heart-breaking seven-overtime loss to Arkansas in Lexington in 2003 in which he did everything except win the game himself.
Meanwhile, the last time Arkansas visited Lexington, it was receiver Randall Cobb who played the hero role, catching two late touchdown passes while wearing the uniform number of injured teammate Dicky Lyons to provide UK with a comeback victory.
This Saturday, Kentucky needs another hero or the Wildcats risk falling to 2-4 and imperiling their bowl hopes. Lynn Bowden, this is your time.
More About Arkansas
The Razorbacks are 2-3 and have had their own struggles, among them losing at home to San Jose State two games ago. But the last game was encouraging for Arkansas, as they nearly upended Texas A&M in a hard-fought 31-27 loss. QB Ben Hicks replaced starter Nick Starkel after some injury issues, and nearly led a comeback win.
Running back Rakeem Boyd is one of the top backs in the conference, with 483 rushing yards to his credit for the season. Tight end Cheyenne O’Grady is a matchup nightmare and could trouble UK deeply in the red zone.
The Arkansas defense is hit and miss, allowing 31 or 34 points in each of the team’s last four games. Arkansas is dangerous in the return game and competent in the kicking game.
The biggest question for the Wildcats is who’s the quarterback. Sawyer Smith has fought both injuries and ineffectiveness, and the most recent reports indicate that the Wildcats are splitting practice snaps between Smith and wide receiver Lynn Bowden.
Bowden is Kentucky’s best receiver and special teams threat, but also looked pretty decent in a trial at quarterback against South Carolina. Can he play a large number of snaps there? Can he avoid being injured like Smith and Terry Wilson?
As discussed above, the Arkansas game has been a stage for some UK legends. The Razorbacks are a tough matchup, but it feels like time than Bowden claim his spot in UK history, maybe passing, maybe rushing, maybe receiving or returning. However it happens, the guess here is that he gets it done.
UK 28, Arkansas 27
Around the SEC Predictions
Georgia 42, South Carolina 10
Tennessee 22, Mississippi State 21
Alabama 38, Texas A&M 14
Vanderbilt 42, UNLV 10
Missouri 35, Ole Miss 24
LSU 42, Florida 24
Joe Cox is contributing editor for KySportsStyle.com Magazine. He grew up in Letcher County and Bell County and has written eight books. His most recent, "A Fine Team Man: Jackie Robinson and the Lives He Changed," was released in February 2019 and can be ordered on Amazon or at many local bookstores. Joe is an attorney and lives in Logan County with his wife and children. You can reach him at email@example.com