LSU rushing offense vs. Kentucky rushing defense
It's a good time for LSU to get its ground game rejuvenated. Against the run, Kentucky is allowing 180 yards per game – 89th among 117 Division I-A teams. Look for the Tigers to establish the tempo with Domanick Davis and Joseph Addai. The return of Shyrone Carey to the ground game would be a welcomed addition.
LSU passing offense vs. Kentucky pass defense
The Wildcats are No. 83 in the nation in pass defense, allowing 234 yards per game. But the LSU hasn't been a team that relies on throwing the ball to win games. If Marcus Randall is to bounce back from his Auburn performance, now's a good time to do it. The defenses he will face the rest of the way are going to be far more stingy than Kentucky's.
Kentucky rushing offense vs. LSU rushing defense
Advantage: Artose Pinner is the top rusher in the Southeastern Conference, averaging 111 yards per game. But the Wildcats' team rushing statistics are nothing to write home about. If Pinner doesn't get his yards, it seems no one else can make up for it. Look for LSU to rebound from the freefall it experienced against Auburn.
Kentucky passing offense vs. LSU passing defense
The Auburn game might have left you with a different impression, but LSU is still one of the nation's best team against the pass. Following the games played on Nov. 2, the Tigers were second to Miami (Fla.) in the pass defense category. For all he hype about Jared Lorenzen's prowess through the air, his team is 61st in the nation in passing offense – behind teams like UL-Lafayette and UL-Monroe. However, give Lorenzen credit for his strong pass efficiency numbers. He has completed over 58 percent of his passes and thrown only three interceptions this season.
Advantage: Slight to LSU
LSU special teams vs. Kentucky special teams
A lot of comparisons will be made between Domanick Davis and Derek Abney, as both are stellar in the return game. But if this game turns into a close one, as I think it will, look to the specialists. LSU kicker John Corbello is a healthy 11-of-15 this season on field goals while UK freshman Taylor Begley is 8-of-12. If the game's on the line, you've got to go with experience
Advantage: Slight to LSU
LSU has come away from open weeks fairly strongly under Nick Saban. The coach has said he believes the Auburn loss produced a group of Tigers who are more focused and committed to doing what it will take to win.
Kentucky coach Guy Morriss had to break his hand at halftime to get his team going against Mississippi State, so he's got one left in case he doesn't like what he sees from the Wildcats against LSU. UK would be playing for bowl eligibility if it weren't for NCAA probation, so it will be interesting to see how motivated the ‘Cats are for this game.
I'm not expecting a dramatic turnaround from LSU this week. Instead, I expect the Tigers to look like a team still trying to break in some inexperienced players who far exceed Kentucky's in terms of talent. If Nick Saban gets his players into a groove early, LSU can bring home a win. What the Tigers have to avoid is turnovers that would allow Kentucky to follow the Auburn blueprint.
Predicted score: LSU 30, Kentucky 24
What your prediction for the game?