UK’s 2010 record was 6-7, including a lost to Pitt in the BBVA Compass Bowl.
CMU’s 2010 record was 3-9.
UK is 5-0 all-time against Central Michigan.
UK defeated Western Kentucky last week 14-3.
CMU defeated South Carolina State last week 21-6.
Game will be played at Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington, Kentucky
Players to watch CMU
The Chippewas return key starters at the skill positions and have a few freshmen who made an impact against South Carolina State. Under center for the Chips will be Ryan Radcliff. The junior competed 60.5% of his passes in 2010. He also threw 17 interceptions compared to 17 touchdowns. He currently ranks 9th on their all-time passing list.
Against South Carolina State, the Chips top rusher was Zurlon Tipton. In 2010, Paris Cotton was their top running back. Neither player had huge seasons a year ago, but will be looking to silence the Commonwealth crowd on Saturday. At receiver, the players to keep an eye on are Cody Wilson and Titus Davis. Wilson was the team’s leading receiver in 2010 and Davis recorded his first college touchdown last week as a true freshman
Overall CMU’s offense struggled against South Carolina State. They managed 13 first downs and 88 rushing yards on 35 attempts. They fumbled twice and threw two interceptions. Based on their 2010 stats and last week’s performance, the Chips are turnover prone. UK’s defense will be looking to confuse Radcliff and force turnovers.
On defense, the Chips lost their top tacklers from 2010. Their top returning tackler is Jahleel Addae (DB) who had 80 stops last season. He recorded 6 tackles against South Carolina State. Steve Winston was the team’s leading tackler last week with 7 stops. Other players to remember are Armond Staten (LB), Avery Cunningham (DB), Mike Petrucci (LB) and Cody Lopez (LB). The defensive line will be anchored by John Williams, who recorded 2.5 sacks last season. He will be looking to have a big game with Matt Smith, UK’s starting center, listed as doubtful for the game.
Players to watch UK
Honestly, I think the entire team is looking to rebound after their performance last week. Most fans will still be glued to Morgan Newton to see if he can eliminate mistakes. Newton can’t continue to force throws and must eliminate turnovers. While Newton wasn’t perfect, neither were his receivers.
Joker Phillips said change was coming at wide receiver. That means, Aaron Boyd, E.J. Fields and Demarco Robinson will all see action. Most fans are anxious to see how Aaron Boyd responds after two disappointing seasons. The one guy who could become a household name on Saturday is Demarco Robinson. Tee Martin feels Robinson is capable of scoring every time he touches the ball.
Josh Clemons scored his first touchdown against WKU and it appears he’ll see more action Saturday. It doesn’t matter who’s running the ball if the offensive line doesn’t improve on their performance.
On defense, everyone will continue to watch Danny Trevathan and Winston Guy. These two were all over the field last week and had big games. The defense showed they can carry the offense and I expect another big game from Rick Minter’s unit.
Keys to the game
I’m going to call this game “The Frustration Game.” It appears the staff, players and fans are all on edge after last week’s game. Joker Phillips is looking to make changes on the depth chart and the players are looking to show they can compete in the SEC.
The key will be turnovers. Can Morgan Newton play a sound game? Can the receivers catch the ball? Can the offensive line, which is supposed to be the strength of the program, dominate? The Cats won’t be perfect, but teams show a lot of improvement between weeks one and two.
On paper, UK should dominate the Chips. Isn’t that what we said last week too? That’s why I’m calling this “The Frustration Game.” Nothing will help this team and it’s fan base more than a good old-fashion butt kicking.
The Cats have a ton of room for improvement on offense and I don’t think the Chips have seen a defense with as much speed as the Cats. I believe UK’s defense outscores the Chips. This team has something to prove and will play with a chip (yes, pun intended) on their shoulders.
Cats win 34-10