How Kentucky and Ole Miss match up

mstory@herald-leader.comNovember 5, 2011 

Who's got the advantage?

Quarterback

In relief of an injured Morgan Newton last week, Kentucky true freshman Max Smith completed 26 of 33 passes for 174 yards. This week, the California product makes his first career start. Dual-threat QB Randall Mackey, a former junior-college All-American, is the third different signal caller to start for Ole Miss in 2011. He has injected life into the Rebels' attack.

Advantage: Ole Miss

Running back

CoShik Williams has run for 212 yards combined in the past two games, giving the Kentucky rushing attack a spark. Jonathan George has been effective in reserve the past two weeks. After returning from an early-season injury, Mississippi's Brandon Bolden had his first 100-yard rushing game (114 yards, two TDs) against Auburn. Mighty mite Jeff Scott (5-foot-7, 175 pounds) is a big-play threat.

Advantage: Ole Miss

Wide receiver

After an early season filled with drops, Matt Roark turned in a monster game (13 catches, 116 yards) against Mississippi State. Will his big game last week open things up this week for UK leading receiver La'Rod King? The Ole Miss kiddie corps of freshmen Donte Moncrief (19 catches, four TDs) and Nickolas Brassell (19 receptions, one TD) are talented.

Advantage: Tie

Tight end

UK's Nick Melillo and Tyler Robinson combined for five catches last week. Ole Miss junior Ferbia Allen (five catches for 65 yards this season) is used primarily as a blocker.

Advantage: Kentucky

Offensive line

UK allowed four sacks last week after going two games without surrendering any. With a true freshman QB making his first career start, Kentucky will need a strong game from a veteran line led by left tackle Chandler Burden and right guard Larry Warford. Experienced tackles Bradley Sowell and Bobby Massie anchor the Ole Miss front. True freshman Aaron Morris starts at left guard.

Advantage: Kentucky

Defensive line

Kentucky sophomore tackles Mister Cobble and Donte Rumph each had three tackles last week. Back from injury, end Collins Ukwu recovered a fumble against MSU. Mississippi junior end Gerald Rivers has two sacks this season. Senior end Kentrell Lockett, granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA, had six tackles and recovered two fumbles against Auburn.

Advantage: Kentucky

Linebacker

Kentucky's Danny Trevathan played like a first-team All-American last week — 17 tackles, a forced fumble, an interception. He regained the SEC lead in tackles from teammate Winston Guy. Mississippi middle linebacker Mike Marry is sixth in the SEC in tackles (63) and has two sacks.

Advantage: Kentucky

Secondary

Junior safety Martavius Neloms had seven tackles last week, but the UK secondary gave up 264 passing yards and two TDs against run-oriented Mississippi State. Because of injuries, Ole Miss standout Charles Sawyer has moved from safety to cornerback. He has four picks, including one he returned 96 yards for a TD against BYU. The Rebels are 11th in the SEC in passing yards (211.9) allowed a game.

Advantage: Tie

Special teams

Behind the stellar season of Ryan Tydlacka, Kentucky is second in the SEC in net punting (40.3 yards). Place-kicker Craig McIntosh is 9-for-10 on field-goal tries. UK has not been productive in the return game, ranking 11th on kickoffs and 12th on punts. Mississippi punter Tyler Campbell led the NCAA last season in punting average (46.37 yards). Place-kicker Bryson Rose has made 15 field-goal attempts in a row. Jeff Scott is averaging a whopping 19.7 yards a punt return.

Advantage: Ole Miss

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