The Edge: UK vs. Kent State



By Ethan Levine

[email protected]

UK quarterback Maxwell Smith vs. Kent State pass defense

Sophomore quarterback Maxwell Smith was a bright spot in UK’s 32-14 season-opening loss to Louisville a week ago. Smith was 35-50 passing for 280 yards and two touchdowns, with no turnovers.

Likewise, the Golden Flashes’ defense left something to be desired in their 41-21 week-one victory over Towson. And no, I am not just referring to Andre Parker, the Kent State linebacker who recovered a muffed punt only to run 58 yards in the wrong direction with the ball.

Given that UK brings more athletic weapons to the table at the skill positions, Smith should have an advantage against Kent State’s coverage packages.

Edge: Maxwell Smith

With the Cats’ passing game relying heavily on short passes to athletes who can create for themselves in space, Smith should have plenty of time in the cadence of the offense to find his weapons. Taking into account UK’s now predominantly no-huddle offense, the Golden Flashes’ defense should exhaust before the UK offense, giving Smith and the offense the edge.

UK’s defensive line vs. Kent State rushing attack

To say Kent State’s passing offense is questionable would be a compliment to fans of the Golden Flashes. A year ago, quarterback Spencer Keith barely completed 50 percent of his passes and averaged a little more than 5 yards per attempt. His 11 touchdowns to eight interceptions in 2011 do nothing but show how little Keith made things happen with the pass at the helm of the offense.

Should Kent State try to attack UK with the run, which despite Louisville’s success in the passing game against an inexperienced UK secondary could happen, it will be the responsibility of the defensive line to shut it down. If the line cannot assert its dominance for a second consecutive week, the secondary may have a tough time picking up the slack.

Edge: UK defensive line

Despite the poor showing in week one, the line should bounce back and have a big game against Kent State. Between the frustration of last week and the excitement of a home opener, the linemen should have no trouble getting motivated. Not to mention Kent State’s offensive line is not quite as strong as Louisville’s was a week ago. The defensive line may prove to be overrated by the end of the year, but for one week it looks likely that it will handle its business.

Overall Edge: UK

The Cats were beyond disappointed by last week’s loss to the Cardinals. Defensive coordinator Rick Minter compared the team to a prize fighter who had just lost, saying no fighter wants to sit for long after a loss; all he can think about is redemption. It is redemption that will fuel UK to victory Saturday. The offense looks much improved from a year ago, and a shaky defense should feel comfortable against an offense that threw for 166 yards (63 on one pass) and ran for 101 yards against Towson.

Final score: UK 31, Kent State 10.