The Central Michigan Chippewas blog, TheChipReport.com, has graciously asked us to do a Q&A for the game with the Kentucky Wildcats this weekend at Commonwealth Stadium. You all know how this works -- both blogs exchange questions and answers, and then link back to the other.
Kentucky and Central Michigan have played five times over the years, in 1983, 1988, 1990, 1992 and most recently in 2006. UK is 5-0 against the Chippewas all time, but every game but one has been close, and three of the five meetings have had margins in the single digits. The closest score was back in 1990 when Kentucky edged CMU by a field goal.
You can find my responses over at this link over at The Chip Report. My questions and TCR's answers follow the jump.
Central Michigan was only 3-9 last year, but played Temple, Northwestern, and Navy close. It seems that CMU had difficulty running the ball and stopping the run, much like Kentucky did last year. Has the team been able to address these issues this year, and if so, how?
CMU definitely struggled to find any consistency with the run game last season and it slowed Ryan Radcliff's progression. After seeing the run game and offensive line perform against SC State, I have my doubts they will be able to get anything significant going again this season
A couple things CMU has going for them this season however, is their huge offensive line and a more talented and healthy back field than a year ago. The offensive line *should* improve from week to week as they are all playing new positions and Coach Enos *should* learn how to use the bruiser, Zurlon Tipton and shifty playmakers, Tim Phillips and Paris Cotton.
Amazingly, CMU's defense stunk it up against the run last season despite NFL caliber linebackers in Nick Bellore and Matt Berning. With these 2 players lost to the NFL, things could get even worse against the run.
That being said, they have some heat seeking missiles in the secondary that should help stuff up the run game in Avery Cunningham and Jahleel Addae. Also, their young linebackers looked decent last week against a poor SC State offense so we shall see how this group matures.
What one offensive player should Kentucky be most concerned about? Same question, only for defense?
On defense you really need to watch safety, Jahleel Addae. Last week he made some bonehead plays which resulted in 15 yard penalties but also really impressed me with his speed and ability to help out in the run game. He seemed involved in every play. If he can control his athleticism and play with a smarter head, the sky is the limit.
On offense the best and most consistent receiver is Cody Wilson but the biggest play threat could be true freshman receiver, Titus Davis. Despite only being targeted once last week, he managed to make an under thrown ball into a 60 yard touchdown reception. I expect huge things from this young man and it may start against Kentucky.
CMU was 3-9 last year, but played Temple and Northwestern, and Navy close enough to win. What was the difference last year between 3-9 and 6-6? How is the 2011 team different?
The difference was definitely turnovers and specifically interceptions. Ryan Radcliff made costly mistakes all season and the result was a brutal record. The jury is still out on whether Radcliff can be a smarter quarterback and lead this team to bowl eligibility. The talent is there but the head for the job may not be...
Describe the average CMU fan's perception of Kentucky football.
An average CMU fan looks at Kentucky as a lower tier SEC team with the ability to hang in games with their speed and agility. CMU fans know that Kentucky is in a rebuilding year and it may be the best chance at another out of conference win with dates at NC State and Michigan State remaining. That being said, most fans are admitting that CMU looked sloppy in the opener and might've called for a rout if Kentucky hadn't looked equally as bad against their weak opponent.
How do you expect Saturday's game to play out? Predict the final score.
We may be looking at a rather sloppy game on Saturday given how each team played in their opening games. With each team unable to stop the run or run the football, it could be a battle of field position and may ultimately be decided by the team that makes less mistakes.
If CMU had come out and played a clean football game and put up a couple extra scores against SC State, I might be able to call for the road win. But after the lackluster performance and poor, frantic play from Radcliff, I simple cannot make that assertion.
Kentucky 27 - CMU 21