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Kentucky vs. Northern Illinois game glance, odds, and an early prediction

The Cats will have a final tune-up game before the heart of the SEC schedule.

Dane Key Dylan Ballard - A Sea of Blue

After pitching their first shutout of the Mark Stoops era and the first since 2009, the Kentucky Wildcats will now turn their attention to the Northern Illinois Huskies.

With a 3-0 start for the Cats, they will now look to put the finishing touches on the early non-conference slate before they start the heart of their conference schedule with Ole Miss on October 1st.

Much like the first two games there are some serious questions concerning the running game and the play of the offensive line. Obviously, Chris Rodriguez Jr. will help bolster the running game numbers, but the consistency from the front five will be the thing to monitor on Saturday against the Huskies.

Can they play a complete game? I think they can and dominate once again similar to the second half of the Florida game, but they will have to prove it this week.

NIU might be a good matchup for that opportunity, as they have allowed over 100 yards rushing per game. They do have five sacks on the season, with four coming against Tulsa, but they did not record a sack or a tackle-for-loss against Vanderbilt this past Saturday.

Will Kentucky ensure that trend continues? This should be a good chance for the Big Blue Wall to build some more chemistry through the in-game reps.

Will Levis and the skill talent shines once again, despite the two interceptions. And the defense looks like it could be a top-three unit in the SEC. All of those factors make give the Huskies a slim chance, especially if their starting quarterback will not be able to go.

Rocky Lombardi has been off to a hot start this season, but left in the second quarter of Saturday's game due to injury. With him not returning, the question now becomes; will he be ready to go against the Cats?

Game: Kentucky Wildcats vs. Northern Illinois Huskies

When: 7:00 pm EST on September 24th

Where: Kroger Field in Lexington, KY

TV Channel: ESPN2

Online Stream: WatchESPN

Odds: Current odds sit at -25.5 for Kentucky at

Early Prediction: TeamRankings has Kentucky winning 40-14.