No. 19 Kentucky (5-2, 2-2 SEC) at No. 3 Tennessee (7-0, 3-0), Saturday, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Line: Tennessee by 12 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
Series record: Tennessee leads 82-26-9.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
No. 3 Tennessee has to do its part Saturday against 19th-ranked Kentucky if the Vols are going to make their visit Nov. 5 to Georgia a true showdown. The Vols are off to their best start since 1998 when they last won the national championship. Kentucky recovered from its upset loss to South Carolina by beating Mississippi State for a second win over a ranked opponent this season. An open date gave Kentucky extra time to focus on the Wildcats’ border rival. A win would make Kentucky bowl eligible with a big step toward a quality postseason landing spot.
Tennessee has the nation's top-rated offense for scoring 50.1 points and rolling up 571.7 yards per game. The Vols are second nationally averaging 368.9 yards passing per game. Kentucky ranks second in the SEC and ninth nationally allowing just 16.4 points per game. The Wildcats have held their last 11 opponents to 24 points or less. The Wildcats also are 14th nationally holding opponents to 295.4 yards total offense per game.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Kentucky: RBs Chris Rodriguez, Jr. and Kavosiey Smoke. They have combined for 670 yards in seven games. If the Wildcats can get their ground game going, that would ease the pressure on QB Will Levis.
Tennessee: CBs Christian Charles and Kamal Hadden. Both sat out last week’s win over UT Martin with minor injuries. Having already lost Warren Burrell (upper body surgery) for the season and with S Jaylen McCollough’s status still unknown as he works through an arrest for felony aggravated assault, the Vols' already thin secondary can’t lose anyone else.
FACTS & FIGURES
This is the third time these programs have met with both ranked and the first since 1951. ... This will be Tennessee's fifth straight sellout. ... Tennessee has come up empty just once on 38 trips to the red zone, scoring 31 TDs and 6 FGs. … Vols WR Jalin Hyatt needs one more TD reception to tie the school record of 13. … This is the third straight and fourth in the last five seasons Kentucky has beaten two ranked opponents. Kentucky had done that just once in 2007 over the previous span of 40 years. ... The Wildcats' streak of holding opponents to 24 points or less is the longest since a 12-game streak in the 1979-1980 seasons.
More AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25https://twitter.com/AP_Top25