PREVIEW: Tigers, Wildcats ready for Saturday

After a series of miscues opened the door for Florida to hand LSU its second conference loss this weekend, the Tigers will look to get back on track as they host the Kentucky Wildcats Saturday in Baton Rouge.

Kentucky is 3-3 on the year, with a 1-2 mark in SEC play. Their wins include games with Texas State, Ole Miss and Central Michigan, while the losses have come at the hands of Louisville, Florida and South Carolina.


Historically, LSU has been dominant over the Wildcats, leading the series 37-15-1. The last meeting between the two schools came in 2002, when LSU pulled off the ‘Blue Grass Miracle' in the final seconds to sneak away with a 33-30 victory in Lexington.


The Tigers have won their last three games against Kentucky, a streak dating back to the 2000 season.


Kentucky's offense has struggled to move the ball on the ground thus far, recording just 495 rushing yards for six touchdowns through as many games this season.


The Wildcat passing game has been more productive, tallying 1,543 yards and 15 touchdowns through the air.


Leading the passing attack for Kentucky is junior quarterback Andre' Woodson, who is serving as the starting signal caller for the second year. Woodson has completed 108 passes for 1,486 yards and 15 touchdowns this year, while allowing just three interceptions.


His numbers are far and away better than a year ago, when Woodson threw for 1,644 yards and six scores all year.


On the other side of the passing game is the receiving duo of Keenan Burton and Dicky Lyons. Burton has led the team in receiving yards this season with 462, while Lyons has led the way in scoring with seven touchdowns.


Backup quarterback Curtis Pulley has also helped on the receiving side of the ball with eight catches for 146 yards and one touchdown.


Junior Jacob Tamme is playing his second season as the Wildcats' starting tight end, and has recorded 148 yards and one touchdown for the year.


In the running game, Kentucky is led by returning second team All-SEC running back Rafael Little. Little compiled 1,045 yards on the ground last season to become just the sixth Wildcat in history to rush for 1,000 yards. Through six games in 2006, he has run for 299 yards and two touchdowns, despite not playing against Florida. Before the meeting with the Gators, he had started the 17 games at running back.


Little has also been a contributor in the passing game, hauling in 11 catches for 153 yards and one touchdown. He led the team in receiving a year ago with 449 yards, and has also established himself as a dangerous punt returner; being named a first team All-SEC selection at the position last year.


Kentucky's offensive line returns five starters from last season, though several have changed positions. Last years' returnees include guards Trai Williams and Michael Aitcheson, tackles Fatu Turituri and Hayden Lane, and center Matt McCutchan.


McCutchan has missed the past three games with an injury, causing several linemen to make position shifts. Also returning with experience on in the line is tackle Aaron Miller, who was a freshman All-SEC selection in 2004 before missing last season for personal reasons.


Defensively, the Wildcats have struggled through the first half of the season, allowing 1,496 yards through the air and 1,195 on the ground, ranking them last in the conference in both passing and rushing defense.


On the other end of the spectrum, the Tigers remain first in the SEC in total defense, ranking first against the pass and third in run defense.


Leading Kentucky defensively is the linebacker corps of Joe Schuler, Braxton Kelley and Wesley Woodyard, all of whom were starters last season. Woodyard leads the team in tackles so far this year with 58, while Kelley has contributed with 31 and Schuler with 11.


Woodyard also led the defense in 2005 with 100 tackles, two sacks, four fumble recoveries and one interception.


Kentucky's secondary welcomes back just one veteran in strong safety Roger Williams, who is currently second on the team with 32 tackles and one interception.


Joining Williams in the secondary are safeties Karl Booker and Marcus McClinton and cornerbacks Shomari Moore and Trevard Lindley. McClinton leads the team with two interceptions, while Lindley has recorded six pass break ups on the year.


The secondary has allowed 11 passing touchdowns through six games.


On the defensive line, the Wildcats return starters in tackle Jason Leger and end Durrell White, though Leger has been second to sophomore Myron Prior early this year. Prior has led the team with four sacks this season, while White has contributed one sack and 19 tackles. Filling in the other two spots on the line are Lamar Mills at tackle, and Jeremy Jarmon at end, who have recorded 11 tackles and one pass break up each this season.


Kentucky had one of the most productive special teams in the country last season, averaging 17.2 return yards per punt, and 26.4 yards per kickoff return. This year, the team has picked up where they left off, with Rafael Little averaging 19.4 yards per punt return on nine attempts, while Keenan Burton has returned 13 kicks with an average of 26.4 yards. Burton also broke a return 100 yards for a touchdown against Louisville.


When Burton doesn't receive the kick, Dicky Lyons has returned five kicks, with an average of 28.4 yards each time.


The kicking responsibilities have been split between Lones Seiber and J.J. Housley thus far, with Seiber holding the advantage by making 3-5 field goal attempts and all 13 extra point tries. Housley has gone 0-1 on field goals and 7-8 on extra points


Punting for the second year is Tim Masthay, who is averaging 40.0 yards per punt with eight kicks landing inside the 20-yard line. Masthay also handles kickoffs, where seven of his kicks have resulted in touchbacks.

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