After two interceptions and a lost fumble against Florida, UK's Morgan Newton needs to do a better job of protecting the football. LSU's Jarrett Lee inherited the starting job after Jordan Jefferson's suspension. Lee threw a whopping 16 interceptions as a freshman in 2008. Now a senior, he's learned how to protect the football (6 TD passes, one pick). Will Jefferson, back on the LSU team this week, play Saturday?
Since his 126-yard game against Central Michigan, UK true freshman Josh Clemons has gained only 35 yards total in two contests. Sophomores Spencer Ware (79.5 ypg/3 TDs) and Michael Ford (75 ypg/6 TDs) give LSU a potent one-two punch.
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La'Rod King has caught a touchdown pass in every UK game this season. Rueben Randle (18 catches, 3 TDs) and true freshman Odell Beckham Jr. (17 catches, 1 TD) have been strong for LSU. Star wideout Russell Shepard caught his first pass of the season last week against West Virginia after sitting out three games because of an NCAA suspension.
Senior Nick Melillo and sophomore Tyler Robinson have each caught four passes in UK's past two games. The physical Robinson is also counted on to help Kentucky's blocking. LSU's Deangelo Peterson is averaging 18.2 yards on his six catches and has a touchdown.
With the return of injured starters Matt Smith (center) and Billy Joe Murphy (right tackle), the Cats finally have on the field the group they expected to start. All possible help is needed. UK is 10th in the SEC in rushing and tied with Vanderbilt for the most sacks allowed (16). LSU lost left guard Josh Dworaczyk for the season to injury and Chris Faulk is a new starter this season at left tackle but the Tigers have allowed only three sacks all season.
Redshirt freshman Mike Douglas starts in place of the injured Collins Ukwu after playing well against Florida. UK sophomore tackle Mister Cobble had three tackles (including half of a tackle for loss) in his first career start against Florida. Massive sophomore Michael Brockers (6-6, 306) and classmate Bennie Logan have given LSU dominant tackle play.
Danny Trevathan had his string of double-digit tackle games snapped at 12 after recording "only" eight tackles against Florida. Of course, the UK All-America candidate did have a sack, a forced fumble and a recovery against the Gators. LSU's Ryan Baker played the first month last season with his mouth wired shut because of a broken jaw. He had five tackles last week against West Virginia.
Hybrid linebacker/safety Winston Guy led UK with 11 tackles against Florida. LSU cornerbacks Morris Claiborne and Tyrann Mathieu has each already been chosen Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week once this season. If the season ended now, Mathieu (30 tackles; three TFL; two forced fumbles; two recoveries; one pick) might be SEC Defensive Player of the Year.
UK kickers Ryan Tydlacka (44.4 yards a punt) and Craig McIntosh (4-5 FGA) have been bright spots. LSU punter Brad Wing averaged 48.7 yards a kick against WVU and pinned the Mountaineers inside their 20 on all six of his punts. Morris Claiborne had a crucial 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown vs. WVU and leads the SEC (32.4 ypr). The Tigers have missed two extra points this season.