Both teams are hurting in this department and wonâ€™t be playing their normal starting quarterbacks. UK gets the nod based on the way the Cats were able to interchange Morgan Newton, Will Fidler and Randall Cobb when they were most effective. But donâ€™t expect an aerial showdown.
This is another close category, and the Warhawks are actually outgaining UK on the ground – and in the air, for that matter. But UK has run the ball with some success against some of the toughest competition in the nation, and Derrick Locke is on fire. Besides, the Warhawks have never seen anyone quite like John Conner.
Randall Cobb is a fantastic player and thereâ€™s no denying him, but thereâ€™s still no help out wide. And if you factor Cobb at quarterback instead of receiver, the Warhawks get the nod here. In Darrell McNeal and LaGregory Sapp, Louisiana-Monroe has two playmaking receivers. UK has one â€” and heâ€™ll be under center a lot on Saturday.
UKâ€™s offensive line has been quietly effective all season. When the Cats eliminate stupid penalties, the offensive line is one of the best in the conference. After watching UK commit no penalties against Auburn, hereâ€™s guessing the line will keep on rolling.
Rich Brooks said Ricky Lumpkin had his best game of the season against Auburn, and Taylor Wyndham is making a name for himself as well when he sees the field. The key for the line is that it has to continue to improve, and thereâ€™s a good bet it will this weekend.
This was a major question for UK at the start of the season. But all three starters have been as good or better than expected, and all three are as healthy as theyâ€™ve been this season. An easy call.
Paul Warford had the best game of his career against Auburn, and heâ€™ll be back. Calvin Harrison also made a big interception early, so there is some talent in this group. Itâ€™s close, especially with Trevard Lindley still out, but UK gets the nod.
Craig McIntosh has helped on kickoffs, but UK always seems to give up one big play on special teams. Last weekâ€™s blocked field goal was almost a killer, and until the special teams can play an error-free game, UK canâ€™t win here.
This game really has the potential to be close. The Warhawks were close to beating UK a few years ago, and some of those players are still around. Add in an unpredictable offensive scheme and there could be another scare in store for UK. But in the end, thereâ€™s no way UK should lose this one.