Kentucky Wildcats Football: An early look at the LSU game


Louisiana State University – October 1, 2011 – Baton Rouge, LA

A week after playing Florida at home, Kentucky will travel to Baton Rouge to play their first true away game of the season (the WKU game is neutral-site). Unfortunately for the Cats, their first road game will be in what has affectionately been named “Death Valley” by fans. There, Kentucky will face an LSU team that will be setting it’s sights on the National Championship game after finishing just behind the 2010 National Champion (Auburn) in the SEC West last season. The Tigers will return much of the roster that went on to lose only two games last season, including quarterback Jordan Jefferson. The team may be without star quarterback/receiver/running back/ athlete Russell Shepard though, as recent news suggests that there may be some eligibility questions surrounding him. Regardless of Shepard’s availability, the LSU defense is stocked with talented players at just about every position and should be a tough opponent for every team they face in 2011.

Why Kentucky will win…
The Wildcats will be taking on a team as talented from top to bottom as any on their 2011 schedule, but LSU is going to be without a headline caliber guy this year. The greatest SEC teams always have that clear-cut leader that is such a physical specimen that he stands out against everyone else in the country at his position. Alabama had Julio Jones, Georgia had A.J. Green, Florida had Tim Tebow, Auburn had Cam Newton, and Arkasas had Darren Mcfadden. Last year LSU had Patrick Peterson, but their 2011 roster seems to be void of that attention-getting name, someone that can overtake a game by himself. Kentucky will have a size advantage at the receiver position and can take advantage of LaRod King, Brian Adams, and Matt Roark’s length and ability to go up high for the tough grab. The Wildcat offensive line will be big enough and experienced enough to open the holes, and the Cats have enough capable running backs to hit them. If the defensive line can get enough pressure on Jefferson, the defensive backs can capitalize on his inevitable mistakes.

Kentucky will lose if…
They do not execute flawlessly. LSU is an experienced and powerful team and will be one of the best teams in the country in 2011. The Tigers are returning great talent at almost every position and will feature one of the SEC’s top offensive and defensive lines. The Wildcats MUST get pressure and force LSU into mistakes… but it’s going to be tough against on offensive line returning four experienced starters. The Tigers receivers aren’t all-world, but they will be a hand full for the Cats. LSU will also bring in a stable of tough running backs as they always do. If Kentucky cannot stop the ground attack and force Jordan Jefferson to beat them, the Wildcats will not only lose, they might just get embarrassed.

What I think happens…
I’m sure I raised a lot of eyebrows by picking Kentucky to upset Florida last week, but UK fans can go ahead and blast me, because I cannot pick the Cats over the Tigers this week. I love UK football, but LSU is going to be one of the best teams in the country this season and I think they’ll play for the national championship in January. Kentucky will establish a running game early, but the LSU defense will force at least two turnovers, leading to easy scores. Playing a team as tough as the Tigers in one of the toughest stadiums in the country is a task that I worry the Cats just aren’t going to be ready for at this point in the season.

Final Score: LSU 31 – UK 17

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