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Forget The Air Raid, Kentucky Must Win The Line Of Scrimmage

 

Last season in Lexington, Western Kentucky came out early and jumped to a 17-0 lead before the whole Kentucky team was off the bus it seemed like. The Hilltoppers then relied on their powerful running game from Antonio Andrews who abused the Wildcats to the tune of 125 yards and 3 TD’s on the ground. Despite a valiant 2nd half comeback by Max Smith and the offense, they fell in OT, cementing Joker Phillips’ legacy a mere 3 weeks into the 2012 season. This was not just a 1 year issue either, in 2011 Kentucky’s running game struggled while WKU RB Bobby Rainey rushed for 105 yards on the ground. Despite being outgained on the ground UK limped to a 14-3 win at LP Field that night.

 

2010:
Kentucky 63, Western Kentucky 28
Kentucky Rushing Yds — 206 (4.7 ypc)
WKU Rushing Yds — 187 (5.7)

2011:
Kentucky 14, Western Kentucky 3
Kentucky Rushing Yds — 93 (2.8)
WKU Rushing Yds — 141 (3.4)

2012: 
Western Kentucky 32, Kentucky 31 (OT)
Kentucky Rushing Yds — 41 (2.2)
WKU Rushing Yds — 163 (3.3)

 

As you can see, Kentucky’s rushing production has fallen exponentially since their offensive explosion against WKU in 2010 and the Wildcats’ inability to halt the running game of Western in the last 2 seasons has contributed to one embarrassing loss and another ugly victory. 

This is why, despite all the hype surrounding the return of the Air Raid offense to Kentucky, establishing the running game early and often will be a major factor in whether or not Kentucky’s offense will flourish like it did in the 2010 game, or sputter like the last 2 seasons against WKU. Kentucky does have some questions on the OL, but at the same time Bobby Petrino is having to replace WKU’s top 5 defensive lineman from a year ago. If you watched the North Carolina vs. South Carolina game on Thursday night, you may have noticed that once UNC started to gain some first downs with their up-tempo offense, the South Carolina defense was gasping for air for a lot of the 2nd half. This is very similar to what I expect to see from Kentucky later tonight with their tempo, and Western’s inexperienced D-Line will have to keep pace. Add in Jalen Whitlow’s, who’s likely to be the starting QB, and his running ability and Western’s LB corps. will have to contain a QB capable of scrambling along with covering some 4 and 5 WR sets, which should open the passing game up.

On the defensive side of the ball, its simple. STOP ANTONIO ANDREWS. UK’s front 4 on defense is as good as its been since the Myron Pryor-Corey Peters-Jeremy Jarmon days and with WKU replacing the entire strong side of their OL, it will be interesting to see how UK’s veteran D-Line attacks the new guys. If Kentucky can  hold Western to under 100 yards rushing I don’t see any way the Hilltoppers can win the game.

So sure, people love to see the Air Raid in action, but with the inexperience for UK at the WR position and an unsure QB situation, expect a heavy dose of Sanders, George, Whitlow, and Kemp on the ground later on tonight. It’s what needs to be done.

Article written by Will Totten

Born in Indiana and raised in Louisville, I am the unlikeliest UK fan.

20 Comments for Forget The Air Raid, Kentucky Must Win The Line Of Scrimmage



  1. CPACAT
    11:45 am August 31, 2013 Permalink

    Just watched the video about the Stoops family in one of the posts below…outstanding! If you believe in karma, look for a Kentucky win over Petrino…



  2. RobCary
    12:03 pm August 31, 2013 Permalink

    I agree that whoever controls the line of scrimmage will control the game. Watched TT and SMU last night and it was evident that the offensive and defensive lines are still most important even in ‘Air Raid’ type of offenses.



  3. tdogg40330
    12:10 pm August 31, 2013 Permalink

    all the media is talkin about how far Ole Miss and Vandy have come, after 10
    o’clock tonight they’ll be talkin about the CATS !!! TOUCHDOWN TIMMONS !!!!!



  4. 41 Rushing Yards
    12:18 pm August 31, 2013 Permalink

    Bet the house that we have more than 41 yards rushing tonight…. Western learns that the color in the State for football is turning BLUE



  5. Doubt it
    12:19 pm August 31, 2013 Permalink

    #3 not really. This is WKU we’re playing. Win big and well, an SEC team is supposed to win big. Win by a little and it won’t even rate a mention on ESPN. But lose, and yeah they will be talking about the Cats. And Petrino. Truth be told, this series of games vs. WKU has been a big help for Western, but has done nothing but hurt UK.



  6. rj
    12:24 pm August 31, 2013 Permalink

    do you think matt and drew can stop spooning long enough to make a post this morning



  7. Matt Jones
    12:54 pm August 31, 2013 Permalink

    #6 We have a staff of talented writers and analysts. They are more than capable of proving interesting content. If you don’t like our site, search for something else.



  8. longtimefirsttime
    12:55 pm August 31, 2013 Permalink

    #6 I was thinking it was slow this morning…that could explain things.

    Cats dominate the line of scrimmage. Run for over 175. Win by at least 10. Go CATS!



  9. rj
    1:05 pm August 31, 2013 Permalink

    matilda jones, don’t get your panties in a wad, I love the site. just take a pamprin, you’ll be ok.



  10. Gabe
    1:05 pm August 31, 2013 Permalink

    Cats blowout Western and Ohio beats Louisville



  11. JD
    1:16 pm August 31, 2013 Permalink

    Ready for the game tonight. Feels like its been years since our last football game.



  12. JD
    1:17 pm August 31, 2013 Permalink

    Cats by at least 3 touchdowns



  13. rj
    1:22 pm August 31, 2013 Permalink

    I just matt is felling guilty because he’s too cheap to pay for his own trip to new York instead he’s missing one of most important games in the history of uk football to watch serena ” i’m a man” Williams play olga hitsballavich play tennis.



  14. rj
    1:25 pm August 31, 2013 Permalink

    in not play, my bad.



  15. CATandMONKEY
    1:30 pm August 31, 2013 Permalink

    Agree this game will be won at the line…on both sides of the ball.
    Wishing for an earlier kick off, now my wife has to replenish the refreshments.

    RJ, glad your mom typed in the password on the family computer. Hopefully she will realize that you are over your head again and suspend your on-line privileges.
    If you are a UofL fan you may be excused this instance but if you bleed blue, please find another team to “support”.



  16. rj
    1:31 pm August 31, 2013 Permalink

    I just “think” matt had another correction, that’s what happens when you sleep with women,you should try it matt, you might like it.



  17. rj
    1:33 pm August 31, 2013 Permalink

    are you the monkey matt spanks



  18. Oldmaninblue
    1:41 pm August 31, 2013 Permalink

    If we come out running on every 1st down, I will give up on them.



  19. Oldmaninblue
    1:46 pm August 31, 2013 Permalink

    Why is my pic on this? How do I remove it?



  20. Dr. D-Line
    6:07 pm August 31, 2013 Permalink

    Our D-Line did ok last year, now that it has gotten way better and Western’s has gotten worse you would think that would be obvious that we’d win it. Plus if you look at the stats our 2nd string RB George was gaining more yards a carry then even the all mighty Antonio Andrews, who by the way had to carry it over 30 times to get those yards. If we would have ran that much it would have A) eliminated some of the turnovers which would have limited WKU’s snaps and B) ate up clock which would have limited WKU’s snaps even more. If that were the case AA would have put up maybe 80 yards at most and so would have we. Taking the field positioning advantage away would have pushed the score in our advantage as well. But we had the Joke of the year award winner as our head coach so playing smart football wasn’t an option.