How Kentucky and Western Kentucky match up for Saturday's game at Commonwealth Stadium:
At Louisville last week, Kentucky senior Mike Hartline looked like the same crisp, efficient QB he was in the first half against South Carolina last season before he went down with a knee injury.
WKU sophomore Kawaun Jakes threw for 120 yards with no touchdowns and an interception at Nebraska. Jakes is also a threat to run — he rushed for 366 yards and five touchdowns last season.
UK junior Derrick Locke put in a workmanlike, 104-yard performance at Louisville, and sophomore Donald Russell looked good in a backup role with 36 yards on six carries. Coach Joker Phillips would also like to get Raymond Sanders and Jonathan George some work.
WKU junior Bobby Rainey's 155-yard performance against Nebraska was an opening highlight. But Rainey didn't get much backfield help — he had 30 of his team's 40 carries and was the only true tailback to run the ball.
The Wildcats' receivers were perhaps the most pleasant surprise of the Louisville game. Sophomore La'Rod King and junior Matt Roark provided a pair of nice complements to starters Randall Cobb and Chris Matthews. Tight end Jordan Aumiller also caught a couple of big passes.
The WKU receivers, led by senior Quinterrance Cooper, didn't get much done at Nebraska. Watch out for tight end Jack Doyle, who had a team-high 37 catches in 2009.
The UK offensive line was solid last week. Hartline wasn't sacked, and the offense was able to run the ball when it needed to. Brad Durham will replace Billy Joe Murphy at right tackle.
WKU returns four starters from a year ago, led by 6-foot-4, 306-pound junior left tackle Wes Jeffries.
The front four was a big question mark for UK coming into the season, but the Cats had a decent showing against the Cardinals. Walk-on Luke McDermott played well in his first career start at tackle. Key reserve Mark Crawford will miss Saturday's game for disciplinary reasons. That should mean more time for true freshman Donte Rumph. DeQuin Evans and Taylor Wyndham were disruptive at end.
It was hard to get a read on the Hilltoppers' defensive linemen based on the Nebraska game, but they are young, starting three sophomores and one junior, 6-3, 265-pound end Jared Clendenin.
Kentucky junior Danny Trevathan earned SEC Defensive Player of the Week honors for his 11-tackle, 3.5-tackle for loss game at U of L, but he needs more help in the middle and on the strong side from Ronnie Sneed and Jacob Dufrene. Look for backups Qua Huzzie and Ridge Wilson to see plenty of action.
WKU senior Thomas Majors led the team with 101 tackles last year and was active at Nebraska with seven tackles, a tackle for loss and a forced fumble. He'll be flanked by two more seniors, Chris Bullard and Orlando Misaalefua.
The UK secondary wasn't tested deep much against Louisville, but safety Mychal Bailey was able to pick off an Adam Froman wounded duck for his first career interception. Cornerback Martavius Neloms was solid in run support.
WKU's secondary is led by senior free safety Mark Santoro.
The UK special teams were a disappointment in the opener, with Ryan Tydlacka missing a short field goal and extra point and the kickoff team allowing a 67-yard return. Tydlacka did average 50 yards per punt, and Randall Cobb had a pair of nice kickoff returns.
WKU kicker Casey Tinius went 14-for-19 last year, including 5-for-8 from 40-49 yards. Freshman Willie McNeal will handle punt and kickoff returns.