Kentucky Wildcats Football: An early look at the Central Michigan game


Central Michigan – September 1, 2011 – Lexington, KY

Kentucky will follow up their season opener with a home contest against the Central Michigan Chippewas back in Lexington. Kentucky fans might remember the days of quarterback Dan LeFevor being referred to as a poor man’s Tim Tebow and putting up gaudy statistics week after week. Fortunately for the Cats, he’s gone along with most of the team’s talent from the 12-2 team they had in 2009. The Chippewas stumbled to a 3-9 record last season that only saw wins against FCS-level Hampton and in-state rivals Western Michigan and Eastern Michigan. The 2011 team doesn’t project to be a whole lot better than last year’s squad due to youth and inexperience, but there’s a silver lining there too. With 70% of the projected roster being either freshmen or sophomores, the Chippewas should be able to use 2011 as a building year to better seasons in 2012 and 2013.

Why Kentucky will win…
The Chioppewas are just not going to be that good. They will be coming off of a 3-9 record in the MAC and that typically does not translate to success against an SEC team on the road. Ryan Radcliff is the projected starting quarterback again this season and he’s not bad, but he forces throws (as evidenced by his 17 interceptions) and the experienced Kentucky defensive backfield will be waiting to pounce on his mistakes. The offensive line returns all five starters, but it’s a mess of a depth chart that has seen guards playing center, tackles playing guards and centers playing tackle. The unit will be completely over-matched athletically and physically by Kentucky’s front seven and an array of complicated blitzes could spell doom for the CMU offense. When Kentucky has the ball, they should be able to run over and through the Central Michigan defense that allowed 170+ yards a game last year. The defensive line is light, they are extremely thin at linebacker, and the defensive backfield should be no match for the Kentucky receivers. Morgan Newton should have a career day.

Kentucky will lose if…
They think that Central Michigan is just going to give them a win. The Cats have to understand that they are likely the Super Bowl for CMU and beating Kentucky in Lexington would be a program changing win for the Chippewas. If the Wildcats don’t come out and execute their game plan, they could be in for an upset similar to the Ohio university loss a few years ago that we all try to forget.

What I think happens…
The Wildcats come out strong and put up three touchdowns in the first quarter. The early surge turns into momentum that the Kentucky offense feeds on and Central Michigan can’t stop the bleeding. Playing against what will probably be the slowest defense UK will see this year, Morgan Newton rushes for 50+ Yards and adds 200+ passing yards for a career day. The Kentucky defense capitalizes on mistakes by a young team and forces 3+ turnovers with one going for a score.

Final Score: UK 56 – CMU 3

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