How Kentucky and Louisville match up

mstory@herald-leader.comSeptember 17, 2011 

Who has the advantage?

Quarterback

Morgan Newton has been victimized by numerous dropped passes, but a 44.4-percent completion percentage won't get it done as the competition toughens. On the plus side, the Kentucky quarterback has become a weapon running the ball. In two games, Louisville's Will Stein has thrown for 575 yards and four touchdowns. True freshman backup Teddy Bridgewater brought massive recruiting hype from Miami.

Advantage: Louisville

Running back

With his 87-yard touchdown run last week, true freshman Josh Clemons (126 yards vs. Central Michigan) has been Kentucky's breakout playmaker. With Raymond Sanders sidelined by a knee injury, Jonathan George and CoShik Williams could see multiple carries. Louisville's Victor Anderson and Jeremy Wright are both capable backs, but running behind a green offensive line neither has really ignited.

Advantage: Kentucky

Wide receiver

After a difficult opener, La'Rod King played well against Central Michigan (five catches, 100 yards, a TD). UK needs somebody (back-from-injury Brian Adams?) to step up as a complement. Redshirt freshman Michaelee Harris and true freshman DeVante Parker each have seven catches for U of L and look like budding stars.

Advantage: Louisville

Tight end

So far, Kentucky tight ends have not caught a pass all season. Sophomore Tyler Robinson is No. 1 on the depth chart this week and is a physical presence as a blocker. Josh Chichester, Louisville's 6-foot-8, 240-pound converted wide receiver, leads the Cards in receptions with eight.

Advantage: Louisville

Offensive line

Will Kentucky veteran starters Matt Smith and Billy Joe Murphy return from injury to face the Cards? In the absence of right tackle Murphy last week, true freshman Darrian Miller started and played well. True freshman left guard John Miller is among five new Louisville starters up front. In two games, the Cards' front (seven sacks) has been shakier than the Sherman Minton Bridge.

Advantage: Kentucky

Defensive line

End Collins Ukwu and tackle Donte Rumph have taken big steps forward for Kentucky. Louisville ends Greg Scruggs and William Savoy each has a sack, and former UK recruiting commitment Brandon Dunn (the ex-PRP standout) anchors the middle for a veteran Cardinals line.

Advantage: Louisville

Linebacker

The double-figure tackling streak of Danny Trevathan has reached 11 games, and the UK All-America candidate picked off his first career pass last week. Hybrid end/linebacker Ridge Wilson will need to be a disruptive factor. Louisville middle linebacker Dexter Heyman has been a force, with 18 tackles, a sack and an interception in two games. Outside backers Preston Brown and Daniel Brown are good, too.

Advantage: Kentucky

Secondary

Hybrid safety/linebacker Winston Guy has been stellar in Rick Minter's new defense, with 23 tackles and two interceptions. After picking off nine passes all last year, UK already has six in two games. Louisville's cornerbacks are Anthony Conner, who missed last season with a torn ACL, and true freshman Andrew Johnson.

Advantage: Even

Special teams

Punter Ryan Tydlacka (47.8 yards average) has been one of Kentucky's best players. Place-kicker Craig McIntosh missed a chippy (24 yards) last week but hit from 41 and 45. UK's return game has yet to get going. Louisville place-kicker Chris Philpott is 1-for-1 this year and was 14-for-18 on field goals last season. Will Philpott also add the punting chores after Josh Bleser has averaged 35.1 on eight punts? U of L's return game has shown promise.

Advantage: Kentucky

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