Kentucky Wildcats Football: Strategies and execution for Western

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September 8, 2012; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Western Kentucky Hilltoppers head coach Willie Taggart and quarterback Kawaun Jakes (6) look on from the sideline against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the second half at Bryant Denny Stadium. The Alabama Crimson Tide defeated the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers 35-0. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-US PRESSWIRE

Last week saw Kentucky bounce back and score a much needed win against Kent State. Now, attention will turn to the Wildcats’ matchup with their second in-state foe of the season against Western Kentucky. The Hilltoppers actually played Alabama pretty well to have suffered a 35-0 blowout and should be a tough opponent for Kentucky.

What you really need to know about Western Kentucky:

The Hilltoppers are a solid team, but not one without weaknesses. WKU has put up some gaudy numbers on offense this season at first glance. No one thinks Kawuan Jakes is a Heisman contender, but he has proved that he’s a new type of quarterback in the first two games of the season. The gun-shy guy that seemed to always abandon the pass two early in his first two years as a starter has developed a pocket passing game. Unfortunately for him, he still hasn’t figured out to throw the ball to the wide receivers yet. Against Alabama, Jakes hit tight ends, fullbacks, or running backs on 16 of his 20 completions. The Hilltoppers run a run-first offense and a defense that really sells out to stop the run. If this team attempts to use the same strategy against Alabama, Maxwell Smith could hace a career day.

The players you really need to know for Western Kentucky:

#5 – Antonio Andrews – RB
With good size and elite athleticism, Andrews is a kid that Kentucky recruited…but he wanted to be a quarterback. After a weird series of events where he committed to Air Force and then decomitted, he found his way to Bowling Green and has been waiting patiently behind Bobby Rainey for his opportunity to shine. Andrews is averaging 180 all-purpose yards per game while playing running back, receiver, kick returner, and punt returner.

#82 – Jack Doyle – TE
Doyle leads Western with 12 catches so far this season for a total of 121 yards and has prototypical NFL-size for a tight end at 6’5 and 263 pounds. He will be a tough matchup for the Kentucky defense this week and should remain Jakes’ top target.

#4 – Andrew Jackson – LB
The guy known as “Day supposed to be SEC!” guy from last season’s game in Nashville is the unquestioned leader of this WKU defense. He’s absolutely huge at 6’1 and 265 pounds and has racked up 13 tackles this year, tied for first on the team. Jackson has also made living in opposing teams’ backfields this season and has made four tackles for loss and a sack this year in only two games.

#1 – Jonathan Dowling – DB
Dowling is a very talented player and is still getting a feel for the Hilltoppers after transferring from Florida. In his first two games this year, Dowling has notched 12 tackles, picked off a pass, and blocked a kick. He can play, and Kentucky’s offense will need to keep an eye on him each play.