Woodson, Brohm won’t decide game

Column by Chris DeLottell

Saturday’s cross-state showdown has been billed as a battle between the nation’s top two quarterbacks. The hype is deserved, but the match-up between UK’s Andre Woodson and University of Louisville’s Brian Brohm is like ordering double whip on your cinnamon latte at Starbucks: The event (or drink) needs no extra sweetener, but that extra dash makes it taste that much better.

But, like the heaping mound of whipped cream on that latte, the thought that Saturday’s Governor’s Cup game will be decided in a head-to-head quarterback duel is nothing more than sugary fluff.

More than any other sport, football doesn’t lend itself to mono-a-mono match-ups. We aren’t talking about basketball, where the best players on each team guard each other. This isn’t like baseball, where the power pitcher and the home-run slugger square off in isolated competition.

Aside from pre-game warm-ups, Woodson and Brohm will never even be on the field at the same time. For that reason, neither quarterback can worry about trying to match his opposite number.

“Andre can’t go out there and approach the game that way, and neither can Brian,” said UK quarterbacks coach Randy Sanders, who has guided Woodson’s whirlwind rise to elite status. “They just have to be the best quarterbacks for their team. As soon as they go out and start competing with each other, they’ll have problems.”

And let’s face it: Both teams already have enough problems.

U of L’s struggles on defense have been documented and discussed this week. That’s what happens when a team called the Blue Raiders (is their mascot a Smurf?) scores five touchdowns in the first half. Five! In the first half!

The UK defense has performed better on the scoreboard, giving up only 24 points in two games, but it had massive trouble stopping Kent State on the ground on Saturday. Those problems against the run won’t be aided by injuries to tackles Ricky Lumpkin and Myron Pryor. Lumpkin will miss the game, and Pryor is questionable. Tackle Ventrell Jenkins has also been hobbled by injury in recent weeks.

UK has questions on special teams as well, with last week’s seven touchdowns (and no field goal attempts) giving kicker Lones Sieber little chance to quell the fears of Big Blue Nation after it watched him miss one field goal and two extra points in the opener against Eastern Kentucky.

So while the quarterback match-up provides the sex appeal, Saturday’s game likely won’t be decided by No. 3 in blue or No. 12 in white. Games like this one come down to one or two big plays on defense or special teams.

We know exactly what we’ll get from Woodson and Brohm. That’s why the team that makes the most plays when its quarterback isn’t under center will leave Commonwealth clutching the Governor’s Cup.

Chris DeLotell is an education senior. His column appears on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

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