The Series: UK leads, 16-12 (MSU leads, 7-3, @ Starkville)
Last Meeting: MSU, 35-17, (Nov. 4, 2000, in Lexington)
It's hard to find a way to get excited about this one. Hopefully the State fans haven't given up, and will show up in masse. There is also a glimmer of hope that the Dogs have found something inside of them in the off-week and will show a little pride and take care of a feisty Kentucky team.
9.1 Louisville L 10-36
9.8 Ball State W 28-20
9.22 Florida L 10-44
9.29 Ole Miss L 31-42
10.6 @ S. Carolina L 6-42
10.13 LSU L 25-29
10.20 @ Georgia L 29-43
11.03 @ MISS. STATE 1:30
11.10 @ Vanderbilt TBA
11.17 Tennessee TBA
12.1 @ Indiana 1:00
- Is 1-6 in his first season at UK.
-coached the offensive line at Miss. State, under Jackie Sherrill, in 1996.
-began coaching career in New England as offensive line coach.
-played at TCU (1969-72), Philadelphia Eagles (1973-83) and New England Patriots (1984-87) as an offensive lineman.
-was all-pro for the Eagles in 1981.
-was named head coach on the day before signing day after Hal Mumme was fired.
It's hard to get a handle on what Kentucky likes to do. They are still primarily a passing team, but they have gone to the ground more this year than year's past. However, in the last two games combined, the Cats have rushed it 46 times and passed it 96 times. So you can't convince this scribe that UK is a running football team. The receivers are good, and Lorenzen appears to have picked up his stride since being taken out early on. Expect Kentucky to try to move the football by throwing it, but it won't be with the same type of urgency that you saw when Mumme was there.
WHO'S HOT: Lorenzen. The big cat is 38-of-65 passing the last two games (LSU, @ GA) for 523 yards and 5 TDs. He rushed eight times for 68 yards last week with a score.
WHO'S NOT: After picking up two-straight 100-yard rushing games versus Ole Miss and South Carolina, running back Artose Pinner has just 18 carries for 59 yards the last two games.
THE STATS: UK MSU
Total Offense 346.1 304.3
Rushing Yards 127.9 108.8
Passing Yards 218.3 195.5
Points Scored 19.9 11.2
First Downs 25.0 17.3
3rd Down Conversions . 351 .308
A new feature: I will give an advantage to either Mississippi State or the opponent, for every position. I will award either team with the advantage by a certain number of points (like a point-spread), up to 10. For example, if MSU has the advantage by 1 point, it is a slight edge. If it is by 10, it is a commanding edge.
UK'S OFFENSIVE BACKFIELD
QB 22 JARED LORENZEN (6-4.275.SO)
QB 7 SHANE BOYD (6-2.230.R-FR)
The UK quarterback situation resembles State's, only the Bulldogs don't have one that resembles an offensive center. Lorenzen has sparked the Cats, but looked horrible last year against the Bulldogs. On the other hand, Madkin or Fant haven't done enough to score points. Advantage goes to Lorenzen because he's been hot and the Dogs have not.
ADVANTAGE: KENTUCKY BY 2RB 20 ARTOSE PINNER (5-11.216.JR)
RB 28 MARTEZ JOHNSON (5-10.188.JR)
Kentucky has decided to try to balance the offense a little more. But I think they have gone to the air more than they would like the last couple of games. Against LSU, they had to come from two scores down, and against Georgia, it was a shoot-out the whole game. They might try to settle themselves Saturday, so Pinner could see more action. I don't think the UK running backs pose a huge problem, unless State gets loosened up by a passing blitz. State gets Miller back to almost 100 percent this week and should take full advantage.
ADVANTAGE: STATE BY 4
UK'S RECEIVERSTE 35 DERRICK SMITH (6-6.266.JR)
Y 9 JERMAINE WHITE (6-6.214.SR)
TE 11 CHASE HARP (6-4.243.JR)
WR 12 DEREK ABNEY (5-10.171.SO)
WR 1 ANTHONY KELLY (5-11.188.SR)
Z 17 TOMMY COOK (6-0.191.FR)
WR 88 DOUGIE ALLEN (5-10.179.SR)
H 3 EARNEST SIMMS (5-8.170.JR)
(And yes, they all play)
Kentucky's receivers are fast and strong. They know how to run routes and they actually make catches. State's defenders will have a hard time covering them man on man. MSU's receivers have been a huge disappointment.
ADVANTAGE: KENTUCKY BY 7UK'S OFFENSIVE LINE
LT 72 MATT BROWN (6-5.318.SR)
LG 70 JASON ROLLINS (6-5.265.R-FR)
C 78 NICK SEITZE (6-5.282.SO)
RG 71 JOSH PARRISH (6-6.338.SR)
RT 73 ANTONIO HALL (6-5.293. SO)
This group doesn't really stand out. But they have allowed just 9 sacks. If MSU's line wasn't so beat-up, the Dogs would get a big edge here.
ADVANTAGE: STATE BY 1UK'S DEFENSE
Kentucky hasn't turned many heads with their defensive play. They have given up at least 36 points in five of their seven games. There moment of fame was a second-half effort against LSU that held the Tigers and allowed UK to get back into the game. But they let LSU score a game-winning touchdown in the final seconds. Kentucky hasn't held anybody to less than 100 yards rushing all season. It will be a shame if State can't find some offensive muster Saturday.
WHO'S HOT: Defensive end Dennis Johnson. He's recorded five sacks, 9.5 tackles for a loss and 10 quarterback hurries.WHO'S NOT: UK's secondary. They are awful. Madkin or Fant should have a great game, if the receivers can catch the ball.
UK'S DEFENSIVE LINE
DE 51 CHRIS DEMAREE (6-4.241.SR)
DT 99 ELLERY MOORE (6-3.260.FR)
DT 55 DERRICK JOHNSON (6-2.318.SR)
DE 56 DENNIS JOHNSON (6-7.259.JR)
Kentucky does present some problems. Hopefully, State's offensive linemen are healed up enough to create some penetration. Protecting the quarterback against Derrick and Dennis Johnson will be a priority.
ADVANTAGE: STATE BY 2
ILB 47 JAMAL WHITE (6-3.223.SR)
ILB 33 CHRIS GAYTON (6-2.205.SR)
S 30 OCTAVIOUS BOND (6-1.207.SO)
S 29 PATRICK WIGGINS (6-0.198.SR)
UK's linebackers aren't an aggressive unit that stunts and blitzes much. They will line up and try to stuff the run. They are athletic enough to play back in coverage, when necessary. It's hard to rate these guys over Haggan and company.
ADVANTAGE: STATE BY 2
CB 38 JEREMY BOWIE (5-10.191.SR)
CB 21 DERRICK TATUM (6-0.184.JR)
FS 24 ANTHONY WAJDA (6-4.187.SR)
They have given up a pile of yardage (306 ypg) and aren't very reliable. But then again, State's secondary has been suspect at times this season.
ADVANTAGE: EVENUK'S SPECIAL TEAMS
P 49 GLEN PAKULAK (6-3.232.JR)
PK 10 SETH HANSON (6-2.194.SR)
Hanson is one of the conference's best. He's connected on four-of-five attempts this season, but has drilled 44-of-54 over a four-year career, dating back to 1997. Pakulak is second in the SEC and tenth nationally in punting (44.1 yards per kick). The return teams are good, especially punt-returner Derek Abney, who leads the conference with a 17-yard average on return