UK-Alabama matchups

How Kentucky and Alabama match up position by position:


UK sophomore Mike Hartline faces the biggest test of his young career. While he's been asked to simply manage the game to this point, he'll probably need to make a big play or two to give the Wildcats a chance. Alabama's John Parker Wilson is a fifth-year senior who holds all of the Crimson Tide's career passing records. He hasn't posted big numbers but has made plays when asked.

Advantage: Alabama

Running Back

Both teams are deep here and will use as many as four tailbacks. Tony Dixon will start for UK, but expect to see plenty of Alfonso Smith and Derrick Locke. Glen Coffee is the No. 1 back for the Tide and is backed by Mark Ingram and Roy Upchurch. Alabama's backs have been more productive to this point.

Advantage: Alabama

Offensive Line

The Kentucky offensive line is still trying to find itself and has been slowed by injuries. Redshirt freshman Billy Joe Murphy will make his third career start at right tackle in place of the injured Justin Jeffries. The Crimson Tide have two of the best in the SEC in junior left tackle Andre Smith and senior center Antoine Caldwell.

Advantage: Alabama

Wide receiver

Kentucky is desperately looking for a No. 2 receiver to emerge behind senior Dicky Lyons Jr. Alabama has one of the nation's best freshmen in Julio Jones, but starter Mike McCoy is questionable with a hamstring injury.

Advantage: Alabama

Defensive line

The Wildcats might have the best front four in the league, led by end Jeremy Jarmon and tackles Myron Pryor and Corey Peters. The Tide use only three down linemen in their 3-4 alignment, but all three are talented and productive. Keep an eye on Terrence Cody, a 6-foot-5, 365-pound plugger in the middle.

Advantage: Kentucky


The Wildcats' cause would be helped if injured middle linebacker Micah Johnson was at full speed, but senior Braxton Kelley should do fine after moving over from the weak side. Led by Rolando McClain in the middle, the Alabama linebackers have combined for 101/2 tackles for loss.

Advantage: Alabama


Both teams are deep, talented, and have been performing at a high level. UK's cornerback tandem of Trevard Lindley and David Jones have been in lockdown mode through four games. Alabama safety Justin Woodall is tied for the SEC lead in interceptions with three, including one returned for a touchdown.

Advantage: Even

Special teams

The UK kicking game got a boost last week from Ryan Tydlacka, who nailed both of his field-goal attempts (including a 45-yarder) after replacing Lones Seiber. The Cats now lead the nation in kickoff returns thanks to a 100-yard TD from Derrick Locke last week. Alabama has a solid place-kicker in Leigh Kiffin and one of the league's most dangerous return men in Javier Arenas. But the unit struggled last week against Georgia, allowing a 92-yard punt-return touchdown.

Advantage: Even

Chip Cosby