Published October 5, 2010 - 6:00am
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The Auburn Tigers (5-0) travel to Lexington to take on the Kentucky Wildcats (3-2) this weekend. Last week, Auburn won an easy contest against Louisiana-Monroe, and Kentucky lost their second straight against an in-conference opponent in Ole Miss. Here are a few things you need to know about Auburn vs Kentucky:
1. Auburn is leading the SEC in rushing offense and total offense. The Auburn Tigers will attack you both on the ground and through the air. The Tigers are averaging 269 yards on the ground per game and 475 total yards of offense per game. You stop one aspect of their game and they throw for a 94-yard touchdown to Darvin Adams or Emory Blake. You play a passing cover scheme and the Tigers attack you on the ground with Cameron Newton, Michael Dyer and Onterior McCalebb. Pick your poison with Gus Malzahn.
2. Cameron Newton is the best quarterback in the conference. Now, for you Arkansas fans, this one is a tough one to stomach. Coming into this year, Ryan Mallett was figured to be the best quarterback in the conference – and he is passing the football – but overall, Newton is better. The Newton-led offense will remind you a lot of the 2007 Florida Gators – a year in which Tim Tebow dominated college football that led to the eventual and elusive Heisman Trophy. Newton has a ways to go, but he already has 12 passing touchdowns and 5 rushing touchdowns. I’m not saying he’s the next Tim Tebow or that he will win the Heisman, but he is on the path to stardom real quick. If Newton can keep his team undefeated rolling into the Iron Bowl week, he will be set for the national stage.
3. Kentucky cannot turn over the football. Two weeks ago entering the Florida game, Kentucky had not committed a turnover, and they were 3-0. However, they committed three turnovers in the Florida game and committed three last week against Ole Miss, and the Rebels scored every time they turned the football over via fumble or interception. Against good teams like Auburn, you will get beat again if you turn the football over. Quarterback Mike Hartline will have to take care of the football this week.
4. Nick Fairley leads Auburn on defense. Fairley is a defensive tackle who leads the SEC in sacks and tackles-for-loss. Fairley looks to stop Kentucky running back Derrick Locke from hitting his usual 100-yard mark in rushing. Fairley is a good looking football player who looks to have a bright future ahead of him.
5. Kentucky has to get the football to their three main play makers: Randall Cobb, Derrick Locke and Chris Matthews. Randall Cobb is the all-world player for Kentucky. He has great speed, great hands and can arguably throw the football better than the starting quarterback. Derrick Locke has been great for the Wildcats this year. He will need to hit the 100-yard plus mark and more for Kentucky to be a factor in this one. Chris Matthews has emerged as a go-to receiver opposite Randall Cobb. Hartline: throw the ball to Matthews in the air and let him make a play.