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Open Game Thread: Auburn Tigers @ Kentucky Wildcats

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Tonight in Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington, the Kentucky Wildcats try to come off a 2-game losing streak versus the 8th ranked Auburn Tigers. Game particulars are as follows, courtesy of

Auburn @ Kentucky
Game Notes UK Notes Get Acrobat Reader | UK Depth Chart Get Acrobat Reader
UA Notes Get Acrobat Reader
Date & Time Saturday, Oct. 9
7:30 p.m
Coverage TV: ESPN2
Radio: BBSN
Online Audio listen
Online Video via ESPN3
Location Commonwealth Stadium
Lexington, Ky.
Gameday Information

For the last two games, the young Kentucky defense has struggled to contain SEC offenses. Auburn brings in the #3 scoring offense and #1 rushing offense in the SEC into Lexington to face a UK defense that is #11 in scoring defense and #11 in rushing defense, ahead of only the Vanderbilt Commodores.

No wonder this looks like a recipe for disaster to so many college football observers. But then again ...

... Kentucky brings in some mismatches of its own, primarily in the form of the #2 passing offense in the SEC versus the #11 passing defense in Auburn. Auburn has really struggled in the passing game, allowing Arkansas State to go for 323 yards through the air, the South Carolina Gamecocks for 305, and Louisiana Monroe for 232.

Offsetting that is strength against strength, in the form of Auburn's run defense. Auburn's defense is second in the SEC in defending the run, and Kentucky is #5 in rushing offense, which likely indicates that the Wildcats will have to establish the run via the pass in this game. Auburn has a strong and experienced linebacking corps that is really getting the job done in the run game, along with a solid defensive front, and they yield only 2.64 yards/attempt on the ground, which is really darn good.

The dual-threat quarterback Cameron Newton will be Kentucky's greatest challenge tonight, and history does not favor the Wildcats against mobile quarterbacks. Somehow, UK must do something novel so far this year and keep Auburn from scoring every time they get to the red zone. The Wildcats are 0-fer against all opponents in the red zone, yielding points every time the opposition gets there, 13/16 in the form of touchdowns.

This is the first home test for the Wildcats, and could set the tone for the rest of the season. If Kentucky defends its turf against the Tigers, not only will they score an almost-unprecedented 2-year winning streak over Auburn, but also place itself firmly back on track for a successful season. A close loss here is better than a drubbing, but not much.

We're in a tough spot tonight, Wildcat fans. Let's send Aubie home with a frown and shock the world.

Go, 'CATS!