Kentucky vs. Ole Miss: What to watch

mstory@herald-leader.comNovember 5, 2011 

BYU Mississippi Football

Mississippi coach Houston Nutt saw his team carry a 13-0 lead over BYU into the fourth quarter, only to lose to a stunning comeback effort.

ROGELIO V. SOLIS — AP

Mississippi (2-6, 0-5 SEC)at Kentucky (3-5, 0-4 SEC)

When: 3:30 p.m.

TV: ESPNU

Radio: WLAP-AM 630; WBUL-FM 98.1; XM Channel 199; Sirius Premier Package Channel 220

Series: Mississippi leads 27-13-1

Last meeting: Mississippi won 42-35 on Oct. 2, 2010, at Oxford, Miss.

Line: Mississippi by 11/2

THE KEYS

Protect Max Smith

True freshman quarterback Max Smith gave Kentucky a lift — and some offensive rhythm — by completing 26 of 33 passes against Mississippi State. In prior outings, Smith has struggled at times calling protections and been vulnerable to blitzes. For his first career start to go well, Smith needs to spend Saturday upright.

Run the football

The best way to take pressure off a young QB is with a ground attack. Kentucky needs its veteran offensive line to open holes for either CoShik Williams, Jonathan George or both to have a big game toting the football. Ole Miss is last in the SEC against the run (surrendering 226.8 yards a game).

Watch out for Nutt's trickery

Houston Nutt's nickname (on ESPN) may be The Right Reverend, but he has a gambler's heart. Ole Miss has scored touchdowns this year on a reverse pass and a reverse punt return. The Rebels have tried three onside kicks (tied with Tennessee for most in the SEC) and recovered two. With Mississippi — which has not won a league game since beating UK a season ago — desperate for a victory, Kentucky had better be prepared for anything.

THE MOOD

With basketball starting, disinterest is winning out over anger toward the Cats football program among the UK fan base. The play of Max Smith last week and the fact he is making his first career start at quarterback this week at least introduces an element of curiosity. There is one thing worse than playing in a game that most would say matches the two worst teams in the SEC — losing it. Kentucky needs to win this game.

Lexington Herald-Leader is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service