UK Football

Keys to the game

The game

Akron (0-2) at Kentucky (2-0)

When: 7 p.m.

TV: Fox Sports South (Insight Cable Channel 52)

Radio: WLAP-AM 630, WBUL-FM 98.1

Series: First meeting

The keys

1. Rally against the run

After allowing Louisville's Bilal Powell and Western Kentucky's Bobby Rainey to rush for well over 100 yards, the UK defense needs a run-stuffing performance in the worst way. If Akron's Nate Burney and/or Alex Allen go over 100, that's a troubling sign going into SEC play.

2. May the (special) forces be with you

Coach Joker Phillips renamed his special teams unit "special forces," but so far the only thing the unit has been forcing is head-scratching among the UK coaching staff. Some changes have been made this week, and if the Cats don't make strides that's another troubling sign going into SEC play.

3. Seal the deal

UK took care of business last week against Western Kentucky, building a big lead that allowed the starters to exit early and several young players to see extended action. The Cats are 24½ -point favorites Saturday, and with a brutal stretch of league games starting next week at Florida, it would behoove them to follow the same blueprint as the WKU game and get this one over early.

The mood

Going into the third week of the season, we still don't know much about the Kentucky football team. The offense looks good, but it hasn't played a defense with a pulse. The defense has question marks, but the coaches are hoping the light will come on. We probably won't learn a whole lot from the Akron game, either, so here's the best-case scenario: Get a big win, keep everybody healthy and build some positive momentum for a daunting trip to the Swamp next week.

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