No. 18 Tennessee looks to continue home streak vs. Kentucky

Kentucky (1-2) at No. 18 Tennessee (2-1), Saturday at noon ET (SEC Network).

Line: Tennessee by 6.

Series record: Tennessee leads 81-25-9.

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

Kentucky desperately needs to build some momentum before hosting No. 3 Georgia, while Tennessee wants to start a two-game home stand with a win considering No. 2 Alabama visits next. This is a battle between teams working to finish at least third in the SEC East.

KEY MATCHUP

Tennessee QB Jarrett Guarantano vs. Kentucky’s pass defense. After two games without a takeaway, the Wildcats tied for the second-most in school history with six against Mississippi State’s Air Raid offense. Linebackers picked off three, including a pick-six clincher and Josh Paschal’s 76-yard return to set up another TD. Do those Wildcats show up or revert to the group that allowed 21 unanswered points to Ole Miss?

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Kentucky: RB Chris Rodriguez Jr. Second in rushing to mobile QB Terry Wilson with 184 yards and three TDs on 33 carries, the sophomore had a career-high 133 yards and two scores against Ole Miss. He helped Kentucky rush for 408 overall and finish with three 100-yard rushers in a game for the first time in the modern era.

Tennessee: LB Deandre Johnson. The SEC’s sack leader with 3 1/2 sacks was ejected for targeting midway through the first quarter of the Vols’ loss to Georgia. Having him around should provide a boost for the defense.

FACTS & FIGURES

Tennessee has beaten Kentucky more than any other opponent, including 17 straight in Neyland Stadium. The Volunteers have won 33 of the last 35 games in this series. … Kentucky coach Mark Stoops is 1-6 against Tennessee. … Kentucky’s last win in Knoxville was 1984 where Tennessee is 43-10-6 all-time. … Kentucky held Mississippi State to 20 yards rushing. … Kentucky P Max Duffy is tied for second nationally in FBS averaging 48.1 yards per punt. … Kentucky leads the SEC and is fifth nationally with six interceptions. … Kentucky leads the SEC and is 19th nationally averaging 212.3 yards rushing per game. … Tennessee has won nine of its last 11 games but snapped an SEC-best eight-game winning streak with a 44-21 loss to Georgia last week. Tennessee has won its last two games after a loss under coach Jeremy Pruitt. … Tennessee is tied for the FBS and SEC lead with two defensive touchdowns this season.

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