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By LARRY VAUGHT
Corey Peters has no problem admitting that KentuckyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s season is on the line Saturday at Vanderbilt.
The Wildcats take a 5-4 record into the game and need one more win to become bowl eligible. However, Peters knows the Cats need to win at least two of their remaining three games against Vanderbilt, Georgia and Tennessee to assure themselves of a fourth straight bowl bid.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Our season is on the line. That is fairÃ¢â‚¬Â said Peters Monday. Ã¢â‚¬Å“There is no guarantee you go to a bowl game with six wins based on how other SEC teams are also doing. We have three games left and I think we need to win them all to consider our season a success.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Peters knows Kentucky put its season in jeopardy when it let a lead against Mississippi State slip away two weeks ago and lost at home to the Bulldogs.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It was a home game we were favored to win. A win would have put us in great position,Ã¢â‚¬Â Peters said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“We had people, myself included, who did overlook Mississippi State a little bit. We had already counted it as a win. But now we have to move on and get over it.Ã¢â‚¬Â
ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the attitude Kentucky coach Rich Brooks says his team better have against VanderbiltÃ‚Â even though the Commodores have won only two games this year.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t think it does anybody any good two games removed to be thinking backwards,Ã¢â‚¬Â Brooks said.
He also says it does no good to think of Vanderbilt as a guaranteed win, either.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know when it was an automatic win for Kentucky. It never was,Ã¢â‚¬Â Brooks said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Sometimes perception and reality are two different things when it comes to this series. It has been a very, very competitive series historically.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Brooks noted how UK lost at Vanderbilt by 10 points in 2003 and then won the next four games by a combined 25 points. Last year Vanderbilt won by seven points in Lexington.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“This is a series and a game that has been as close as it can be year in, year out,Ã¢â‚¬Â Brooks said.
Peters knows Vanderbilt would like nothing better than to spoil UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s season by knocking off the Cats and derailing UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s bowl chances.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“They are dangerous. I think they can play loose. They did against Florida. They have nothing to lose. They are playing to spoil things for other teams,Ã¢â‚¬Â Peters said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“But we may feel we owe them something from last year, too. That left a bad taste in our mouth. That was a game we should have won and didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“All I know is that we need to finish strong. We can still win seven or eight games. We have a lot of injuries, but thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s no excuse. We can finish on a strong note if we play the way we can and we know that. But we also know you canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t just put this game down as a win. They always play us tough and they have played some good teams really tough this year. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s just up to us to make sure we get this win.Ã¢â‚¬Â