Mike Hartline had his worst outing statistically against Mississippi State last week with three interceptions, but he's still in line for the second-team All-SEC quarterback spot behind Auburn's Cam Newton. Charleston Southern will be led by Andrew Trudnowski, a 6-foot-4, 220-pound senior who has started the last three games after an injury to starter A.J. Toscano.
The Wildcats' running back situation is in flux. Derrick Locke could make his return after a three-game absence, and Raymond Sanders is also questionable. That gives the job to sophomore Donald Russell, who has two starts under his belt. CSU doesn't run it all that much, but when it does, senior DeMarcus Moon will get most of the carries.
Kentucky will have its full allotment of receivers against CSU, with La'Rod King healthier after being slowed by a knee sprain last week and Matt Roark returning from a one-game suspension. CSU has four receivers who have caught 20 or more passes. The big-play threat is senior Gerald Stevenson (43 receptions, 643 yards, two TDs).
Kentucky will look to get back on track up front after a rough three-week stretch in which the line gave up 10 sacks. The CSU defense seems like a good place to start. Charleston Southern has just one senior up front, center Jordan Lancaster. It does have one of the best offensive lineman names in college football — junior left tackle Levi McFatter.
The Cats haven't been dominant up front, but they are battle-tested after a brutal six-week SEC run. End Taylor Wyndham leads the unit with 5.5 tackles for loss. CSU is extremely small — tackles Jacque Carter and Joel Walton weigh just 250 and 235 pounds, respectively.
Junior Ronnie Sneed played his best game last week at Mississippi State, and sophomore Ridge Wilson is expected to make his second career start. Senior linebacker Chris Patrick is CSU's No. 1 tackler and defensive leader.
Quietly, the UK secondary has done a good job limiting big plays in the passing game. Redshirt freshman Dakotah Tyler started at free safety ahead of Mychal Bailey last week, but Bailey is listed No. 1 on the depth chart for CSU. Hartline will have to keep an eye on Buccaneer cornerback Charles James, who has five interceptions and eight pass breakups this season.
Craig McIntosh and Ryan Tydlacka have rounded into a solid placekicking-punting duo for the Cats. UK's kick coverage has been shaky at times, which is not a good sign when you consider that CSU's Gerald Stevenson has run back three kickoffs for touchdowns this season. The Buccaneers are below average in punting and place-kicking.