Skip to main content
Publish date:

Kentucky vs. Louisville Football Prediction and Preview

Kentucky Wildcats vs. Louisville Cardinals Football Prediction and Preview

Bluegrass State bragging rights will be on the line when the Wildcats and Cardinals tangle in Louisville on Saturday night

The annual The Governor's Cup rivalry between the Kentucky Wildcats and the Louisville Cardinals doesn't get the publicity that their basketball rivalry does.

However, it is just as heated as it is on the hardwood.

Kentucky (8-3, 5-3 SEC) is riding a two-game winning streak entering Saturday's game against Louisville. The Wildcats will be going for their second season with at least nine wins under head coach Mark Stoops.

Louisville (6-5, 4-4 ACC) has also won its last two games after defeating Syracuse and Duke the previous few weekends. A win would ensure the Cardinals a winning record after going 4-7 a season ago.

Saturday will mark the 33rd meeting between Kentucky and Louisville as the Wildcats hold a slim 17-15 advantage. The two teams did not play last season due to the COVID pandemic adjustments in the scheduling.

Kentucky at Louisville

Kickoff: Saturday, Nov. 27 at 7:30 p.m. ET
TV: ESPN2
Spread: Louisville -3

When Kentucky Has the Ball

Kentucky's offense has been in a nice groove as of late. The Wildcats are averaging 44 points in their last three games, two of those have been victories.

Quarterback Will Levis is coming off arguably his best performance in a Wildcats uniform against New Mexico State. Levis overcame a fumble and an interception to pass for 419 yards and four touchdowns in the 56-16 win over the Aggies.

Kentucky outscored NMSU 56-9 after the Aggies got on the board first. The Wildcats will try to continue their offensive success against a Cardinals defense that's given up a lot of big plays this season.

Recommended Articles

Louisville is 77th in total defense as the Cardinals are giving up 391.8 yards per game. If Levis can eliminate the big mistakes — only Hawaii and Southern Miss have turned the ball over more than Kentucky (22)— the Wildcats should be able to move the ball down the field without much trouble.

When Louisville Has the Ball

Malik Cunningham has been a man on a mission recently. Against Duke, the quarterback had another monster day under center.

Cunningham finished with 303 yards passing and 224 rushing yards. He became only the second player in FBS history with at least 300 yards passing and 200 yards rushing in a game, joining Washington's Marques Tuiasosopo against Stanford in 1999.

The crazy thing is Cunningham sat out most of the fourth quarter due to the large lead over Duke. And he spread his 18 completions to nine different receivers, with none topping four catches or 60 yards.

Cunningham will be facing a Kentucky defense that's been solid all season as the Wildcats are 27th in total defense (335.7 yards per game). However, UK's turnover problems also extend to their defense, where only Syracuse, FIU, and Arizona have forced fewer than their eight turnovers.

Final Analysis

There will likely be a lot of scoring in the Bluegrass state on Saturday between Kentucky and Louisville. Both have shown they can put a lot of crooked numbers on the scoreboard.

This game will likely come down to who can make stops or who has the ball last. Considering Levis' tendency to turn the ball over even against NMSU, the advantage goes to Louisville.

Cunningham has been one of the better players in the ACC during the last few weeks, and his play could be just enough in a tight rivalry game.

Prediction: Louisville 34, Kentucky 31

Podcast: Week 13 Preview, Predictions, and Picks Against the Spread

— Written by Antwan Staley, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and has extensive experience covering Florida sports teams. Staley has written for Bleacher Report, Pro Player Insiders and is a reporter for Sports Talk Florida. Follow him on Twitter @antwanstaley.