Who has the edge?
How Kentucky and Tennessee match up for Saturday's game at Knoxville:
Kentucky's Mike Hartline has had a tremendous senior campaign but is still looking for his first SEC road win. Tennessee freshman Tyler Bray has been hot since taking over for Matt Simms in the third quarter of the South Carolina game. Bray has thrown for 1,183 yards and 12 touchdowns with just three interceptions in 3 1/2 games.
UK's Derrick Locke looked rusty in his return to the lineup against Vanderbilt but still had 145 yards and two scores. He should be back to the Locke of old after having a week off. Tennessee's Tauren Poole has been a model of consistency. His six 100-yard rushing games tie Auburn's Cam Newton for the most in the SEC.
Kentucky's Randall Cobb and Chris Matthews have been the most productive duo in the SEC, combining for 117 catches, 1,651 yards and 16 touchdowns. Tennessee is loaded with productive veterans (Gerald Jones and Denarius Moore) and talented freshmen (Justin Hunter and Da'Rick Rogers). UT also has one of the league's best tight ends in Luke Stocker.
Offensive line coach Mike Summers hopes Kentucky's open date last Saturday will help revitalize a unit that was solid the first half of the season before tailing off in recent weeks. The Tennessee line had the third-fewest returning starters in the NCAA, and it's shown at times. The Vols haven't been overpowering in the run game and have allowed a league-high 35 sacks.
Teams have been able to run on the Volunteers, but UT does have a couple play-makers up front in tackle Malik Jackson (10 tackles for loss, five sacks) and end Gerald Williams (6.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks). UK got good news last week when end DeQuin Evans regained his form but received bad news this week when starting tackle Mark Crawford was suspended for the rest of the season.
Middle linebacker Nick Reveiz has been the heart and soul of the Tennessee defense. Though undersized, Reveiz plays with high intelligence and a high motor. He's flanked by LaMarcus Thomas and Herman Lathers. UK's Ridge Wilson has played well since taking over the starting job on the strong side, offering much-needed support to All-SEC candidate Danny Trevathan.
The Vols have some of the SEC's best young talent, led by sophomores Janzen Jackson and Prentiss Waggoner. Both players have four interceptions, and Waggoner has three fumble recoveries and three defensive touchdowns. UK will have to make do without its most physical corner in the first half because of Martavius Neloms' two-quarter suspension for fighting against Vanderbilt.
Kentucky's special teams have settled into a decent unit after some early inconsistency, led by kicker Craig McIntosh and punter Ryan Tydlacka. Tennessee doesn't do much in the return game, and its punting is below average. But the Vols have one of the nation's best place-kickers in Daniel Lincoln, who recently returned to the lineup after missing time with a torn quadriceps. Lincoln is perfect on nine field-goal attempts this season, going 5-for-5 from 40-49 yards.