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Keys To The Game: Arkansas

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Photo Courtesy of Clay Jackson. Check out more photos from CJ.

– The Kentucky football program is hot off of one of the biggest wins in school history after their 40-34 defeat of Louisville. The celebration will have to be short lived as its right back to business Saturday night in Fayetteville with an angry group of hogs. Kentucky has to put what happened last week aside, and commit full attention to an Arkansas team who is looking at this game as a must win if they want any chance of defending their SEC West crown from a year ago. UK comes ready to play and we have a great ball game, if not it could be a long night down in the natural state.

-Anyone who follows college football is well aware of the rushing attack that Arkansas has been highly celebrated for here recently. Heisman candidate front runner Darren McFadden is all that and a bag of chips, and he is complemented very well by another burner in sidekick Felix Jones. It really is a pick your poison type of situation with these two. What you have to understand is the Razorbacks are going to get their fair amount of yards on the ground. It is their bread and butter, what they do best. However, UK can’t allow other players who are not as lavish such as incumbent QB Casey Dick to go off for a big game. Kentucky has been notorious in recent seasons for making average quarterbacks look like superstars. UK has to put Arkansas in position to pass the ball if it wants to win. What can’t happen is the Hogs run wild allowing play action to become a deadly weapon. What the Wildcats can’t afford is Dick to go off for a 13-20 for 225 and two touchdown type performance.

-The hog secondary is very questionable to say the least. Just as Arkansas will get their yards on the ground, there is no reason Kentucky shouldn’t be able to throw the ball all over the field. It will help wonders if UK can continue to run the ball effectively like they have in the first three contests. If that occurs, Andre Woodson will have another huge night and allow a national audience to witness just how good he really is.

-Can the defensive line continue their rapid improvement from a year ago? There is no position on the team that has upgraded their production with little added talent as the defensive line. Corey Peters is a monster and Ventrell Jenkins is playing well over his head at the moment. True freshman Shane McCord has logged quality minutes and is going to be a star by the time the second half of the season rolls around. Myron Pryor played seventeen snaps last week and should be ready for a higher production tomorrow night.

-As much as the Louisville game was labeled as a statement game, this match up is even bigger. Going on the road and defeating a high quality opponent with a Heisman candidate after knocking off a top ten team will let any doubters that are left know UK is for real. IF, and I do say IF, UK could manage to pull out the victory , the CATS come back home with Florida Atlantic and are looking at 5-0 and a top 15 ranking heading into a Thursday night showdown in Columbia with the Gamecocks on October 4. Wow, just wow.

Article written by Shawn Bridwell