All eyes on are on Matt Elam
Matt Elam’s game on Saturday could be the biggest game of Kentucky career. After the season-ending injury to Melvin Gordon, Elam will take over the role of the starting nose guard on the d-line. Eliot praised Elam’s focus and preparation this week heading into Saturday’s game. “Matt’s worked very hard. He’s taken a very serious attitude, which is good. He has come to work everyday and paid attention. He’s doing what we ask,” Eliot said. Elam not only wants to play well for himself, but for Lewis, which gives him more motivation.
To be effective in Saturday’s game, Elam is going to have to fight through fatigue from playing more reps than normal. Playing hard and fast, while still remembering technique will be key for Elam. “Sometimes when you have another person in front of you, you kind of coast a little bit, but now he’s the man. So he has to perform because everyone is on his back,” said Jimmy Brumbaugh.
Adrian Middleton and Tymere Dubose are two other players who are getting reps at the nose guard position.
Schematically, the defense will not change much
The defense won’t be using less 3-4 or more 4-3 with the loss of Lewis. There will not be much change on the defensive side of the ball on Saturday. “We are just going to fill the void with different players,” Eliot said. The goal for the defense is to stay on track despite the loss on one of their key players.
Dak Prescott is Mississippi State’s leading rusher
Even though Prescott is using his arm more this year than last, he continues to be the team’s leading rusher with 325 yards in 59 attempts (Brandon Holloway, the running back, is second with 174 yards in 36 attempts). However crazy all this might sound, Prescott is throwing the ball more this year than last season. Prescott’s passing has improved from last year and “has become an effective passer,” Eliot said.
Prescott has also yet to throw an interception this year, which motivates Kentucky’s secondary that hasn’t had a pick since the Florida game. Eliot credits the lack on interceptions to drops. “We’ve dropped a lot. We’ve had our opportunities and we haven’t been able to pull them in. We’ve got to make those plays,” Eliot said.