UK quarterback Mike Hartline has been experiencing flu-like symptoms, according to team spokesmen. He looked fine in warm-ups, but that’s not the best news for a team looking to return to a more pro-set offense after running a mis-mash of stuff over the last month of the season.
Not good news for a UK team that most observers here now agree is the underdog, no matter what the Vegas line says.
East Carolina, the conventional wisdom goes, is fired up about being here and looking for a win over an SEC opponent to raise its stature.
I’m not sure that reasoning always goes. I remember plenty of bowls where the team that played it loose on game week actually performed better, and UK should be nothing today if not loose. The Cats had a fun week in Memphis, and if they have fun today, particularly on defense, they’ve got a shot.
But it may take at least three takeaways and a defensive score to win.
One thing definitely in UK’s favor: As expected, a decided crowd advantage.