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NCAAF: Kentucky not dwelling on skid, focused on Vandy

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A three-game losing streak has knocked Kentucky out of the Top 25, but the Wildcats have a good chance to finish the regular season on a positive note.

They finish Southeastern Conference play Saturday night in Nashville against Vanderbilt, followed by nonconference games against New Mexico State and Louisville in which they’ll be favored. A 9-3 record could still land Kentucky in a New Year’s Day bowl game.

“As far as team morale and where we’re at, I’m very optimistic,” said Wildcats coach Mark Stoops. “I know our team, I know our leaders, I’ve seen a lot of them, I talked to a lot of them after the game.”

The game Stoops referred to was last week’s 45-42 home loss to Tennessee. Despite controlling the ball for just over 46 minutes and rolling up 612 total yards, Kentucky (6-3, 4-3 SEC) wasn’t able to convert its absurd time of possession advantage into a win.

Stoops has been playing the role of positive thinker when asked about his squad.

“I can promise you, there’s a lot of guys in that building that are motivated to move on and try to go get the next victory,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Commodores (2-7, 0-5) are coming off an open date that has left them as refreshed as an SEC team can be nine games into a 12-game season. They have lost four straight games, including a 37-28 decision at home Oct. 30 against Missouri.

First-year coach Clark Lea could welcome back some important pieces this week. Quarterback Ken Seals, running back Rocko Griffin and linebacker De’Rickey Wright are on track to return after missing the loss to Missouri.

“Hopefully, the time off gives us a chance to launch here at the finish of the season,” Lea said. “We’re battling what every team is battling and that’s the accumulation of the grind and it’s a physical grind, a mental grind. But I’m excited to watch this team through to the finish.”

This will be the 94th meeting between the SEC East Division rivals. The Wildcats own a 47-42-4 advantage, bolstered by five consecutive victories.

–Field Level Media

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