Central Michigan (1-0) at Kentucky (1-0)
When: Noon | TV: ESPNU
Radio: WLAP-AM 630; WBUL-FM 98.1; XM Channel 199; Sirius Premier Package Channel 220
Series: Kentucky leads 5-0
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Lexington Herald-Leader
Last meeting: Kentucky won 45-36 on Sept. 30, 2006
Line: Kentucky is favored by 11 points
With dropped passes and horrid offensive line play, the Kentucky quarterback didn't get much help in UK's listless 14-3 win over WKU. Yet even allowing for that, Newton was not sharp. In 10 career starts, the junior from Carmel, Ind., has thrown for more than 200 yards in a game once. He has been under 100 yards passing in six of those starts. For his own confidence as well as that of teammates, coaches and fans, Newton needs a strong showing.
The offensive line
A veteran offensive front was supposed to be the bedrock of the Kentucky team in 2011. Yet the Cats were beaten physically up front in the opener by a Sun Belt Conference defense. Injuries that sidelined center Matt Smith and limited guard Stuart Hines probably contributed to that, but if Kentucky is going to have a good season the offensive line needs to make a physical statement against CMU.
Joker Phillips called the play of the Wildcats pass catchers "embarrassing" in game one. A solid No. 3 receiver a season ago, La'Rod King needs to take it up a couple of notches if he is going to be UK's post-Cobb go-to guy.
Is sour. Kentucky ended the 2010 season on a downer against Tennessee and Pittsburgh, then opened with an offensive stinker against Western. UK needs to put a much better offensive product on the field — while winning the game — against CMU both to get its fan base engaged and to build momentum for next week's showdown with Louisville.