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Kentucky Wildcats Football: An early look at the Jacksonville State game


Jacksonville State – October 22, 2011 – Lexington, KY

The Wildcats will follow consecutive road trips to LSU and South Carolina with their Bye week on October 15th. After a week to get rested and healed, Kentucky will welcome in Jacksonville State to Commonwealth Stadium. While Jacksonville state might be a FCS level school, they’re a tough program and one of the best in their division. Just ask Ole Miss how their season opener went last year when Jacksonville State shocked the Rebels with a 49-48 2OT win in Oxford. This year’s squad will return a lot of firepower, headlined by newcomer Washaun Ealey. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because he almost single handedly beat Kentucky last season as Georgia’s starting running back. Ealey carried the ball 28 times for 157 yards and a ridiculous FIVE touchdowns against the Wildcats in 2010 and will be immediately eligible for JSU this fall. That being said, Jacksonville State is still a FCS team and Kentucky should be a heavy favorite.

Why Kentucky will win…
True, Ealey was a nightmare for the Wildcats last season, but this isn’t 2010. Ealey will not have Georgia’s offensive line blocking for him and he will not be playing against Steve Brown’s passive 4-3 defense. Kentucky’s new defense should be the toughest challenge the gamecocks will face in 2011 and the Wildcats should have a clear-cut advantage at almost every position. The Kentucky defensive line will be bigger and stronger than the Jacksonville state offensive line. The Wildcat defensive backs will be significantly faster than anyone else the gamecocks will play. The UK offensive line should be able to simply man-handle the Jacksonville State defensive line and the Kentucky receivers are bigger, stronger and faster than the Gamecock’s defensive backs. With a week to rest before taking on the JSU, Kentucky should have little trouble on their way to a blowout victory.

Kentucky will lose if…
They overlook Jacksonville state. The Gamecocks are not an SEC team, but they’ve proven that they can beat one given the right circumstances. Kentucky will have a bye week before the game and will follow that up with two home games against the Mississippi schools that could define their season. If the Cats think they can just go through the motions, Washaun Ealey could very well give them flashbacks to last season and upset the Cats at home and give UK a loss that Joker Phillips may not be able to recover from.

What I think happens…
Washaun Ealey or not, Jacksonville State is not on the same level as Kentucky. The offensive and defensive lines will determine the outcome of this game and Kentucky has a decided advantage in the trenches. The starters will come out and put up 35 points in the first half before the reserves come in and finish out the game. Expect LaRod King, Raymond Sanders and either Brandon Gainer or Jonathan George to have really big games.

Final Score: UK 51 – JSU 17

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