ANALYSIS: Kentucky at No. 1 LSU

A closer look as the Wildcats and Tigers get set to tangle in LSU's SEC home opener

PREVIEW: Reputation (and a ranking) to uphold

WHO HAS THE EDGE: Kentucky vs. No. 1 LSU

NOTEBOOK: History lesson for Tigers on the Cats

COLUMN: Miles trumps controversy again

VIDEO: LSU vs. Kentucky preview

VIDEO: Defense on improving for Kentucky

Kentucky (2-2, 0-1) at No. 1 LSU (4-0, 1-0)

11:21 a.m. at Tiger Stadium

WDGL-FM 98.1; XM 201; Sirius 218/SEC Network


Series record: LSU leads the series 38-16-1 and is 22-5-1 against the Wildcats at Tiger Stadium. Kentucky won the last meeting in 2007, 43-37 in triple overtime against the top-ranked Tigers at Commonwealth Stadium.




In the spotlight: MLB Kevin Minter

Season stats: 14 tackles, ½ tackle for loss


Kevin Minter: Time to stand and deliver

Through four games this season, the LSU linebacker corps has done very little to distinguish itself and Minter typifies that with only two solo tackles. Now against a more traditional, run-oriented offense headed up by a dual-threat quarterback, the linebackers – Minter in particular – have to show up and show they can clog the middle of the field and force Kentucky to try and attack on the edges where the Tigers are strongest. If Minter is effective and cleaning up any running plays between the tackles before they get to the secondary, the Wildcats’ sporadic offense could be in for a long day.


Injuries/suspensions: LG Josh Dworaczyk (knee) out for season, LT Chris Faulk (ankle) questionable, OL T-Bob Hebert (concussion) questionable, RT Alex Hurst (concussion) questionable, S Craig Loston (concussion) questionable, QB Jordan Jefferson (suspension) probable


Schedule (4-0, 1-0)

Sept. 3 LSU 40, #3 Oregon 27

Sept. 10 LSU 49, Northwestern State 3

Sept. 15 LSU 19, #25 Mississippi State 6

Sept. 24 LSU 47, at #16 West Virginia 21

Oct. 1 Kentucky, 11:21 a.m. (SEC Network)

Oct. 8 Florida, 2:30 p.m. (CBS)

Oct. 15 at Tennessee, TBA

Oct. 22 Auburn, TBA

Nov. 5 at Alabama

Nov. 12 Western Kentucky

Nov. 19 at Ole Miss

Nov. 25 Arkansas

Dec. 3 SEC Championship Game



In the spotlight: RB Josh Clemons

Josh Clemons: Gives Kentucky a reliable running threat

Season stats: 40-200 rushing, 2 TDs; 3-49 receiving


In measured duty so far, Clemons has proven he has lightning-in-a-bottle capability with an 87-yard touchdown run and a 38-yard reception to his credit. For the Wildcats to keep this game close, they must run the ball well and gobble up the clock. Quarterback Morgan Newton gives UK a dual threat and there are other backs in the Wildcats’ stable. But none poses the same level of dangerous threat as Clemons, so he must be ready to carry the ball 20-25 times and willing to carve out tough yards against an aggressive LSU defense to balance out whatever Newton can contribute.


Injuries/suspensions: DE Collins Ukwu (knee) out, RB Raymond Sanders (knee) out, WR Gene McCaskill (back) questionable, RB Josh Clemons (hamstring) probable, S Martavius Neloms (concussion) probable

Schedule (2-2, 0-1)

Sept. 1 Kentucky 14, Western Kentucky 3

Sept. 10 Kentucky 27, Central Michigan 13

Sept. 17 Louisville 24, Kentucky 17

Sept. 24 #15 Florida 48, Kentucky 10

Oct. 1 at #1 LSU, 11:21 p.m. (SEC Network)

Oct. 8 at South Carolina

Oct. 22 Jacksonville State

Oct. 29 Mississippi State

Nov. 5 Ole Miss

Nov. 12 at Vanderbilt

Nov. 19 at Georgia

Nov. 26 Tennessee


Three keys to the game


  1. Show up ready: Morning kickoffs at Tiger Stadium are never the most popular events, so there will be some lethargy in the building no matter how hard much the fans try to generate enthusiasm. What the LSU players must avoid is coming out with the same lack of pizzazz. Getting off to a strong start is always a key, but with the possibility of a flat crowd, the Tigers may have to create their own early momentum with a turnover or a special-teams jolt or a trick play on offense – something out of the ordinary.

  2. Play with that chip: For most of the last 12 seasons, LSU’s defense has carried a swagger and played with an attitude that has provided the foundation for long-term success. Coming off a surprisingly bad performance at West Virginia, the Tigers defenders need to ratchet their intensity and nasty streak up even more and play with a chip on their collective shoulder against an offense that doesn’t seem to be built to create the same kind of problems the Mountaineers were able to. A couple of quick three-and-outs could be the perfect hangover cure for LSU.

  3. Go with what works: A week ago the Kentucky defense allowed 405 rushing yards to Florida. The Wildcats have also shown a knack for interceptions with seven in four games. That combination screams for an offensive game plan that starts and finishes with LSU running the ball. With this game sandwiched between the emotional road trip to WVU and the annual grudge match with the Gators, there’s no reason for the Tigers to do much of anything but what they do well – namely run the ball with some versatility, Spencer Ware grinding down the interior and Michael Ford eroding the edges.


With four weeks of the season behind them, fortified by three rough-and-tumble road games, LSU gets to spend most of October at home, which means a chance to exhale, starting this week against the Wildcats. The Tigers and Les Miles have said the right things all week about Kentucky being a dangerous SEC foe and being a talented team, etc. It’s nice to play nice, but the bottom line is that this a mismatch and LSU needs to come out and flex its muscles accordingly and remove the drama as quickly as possible. Look for the Tigers to follow the same basic, no-frills offensive game plan that has worked so well so far behind Jarrett and for the defense to bounce back nicely from the embarrassment of last week on the way to the most one-sided SEC win since a season-opening win at Mississippi State in 2007. LSU 42, Kentucky 7


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