Kentucky At Arkansas Gameday
Posted by Matt on September 22, 2007
Fresh off of the program’s greatest victory in practically 30 years, the University of Kentucky Wildcats head to Fayetteville, Arkansas to tackle the University of Arkansas Darren McFaddens.
Programs on the heels of big wins have tended to come out somewhat lackadaisical in the following game making the biggest issue outside of stopping D-Mac being reigning in the team’s focus for the big game. Luckily for us Rich Brooks is a straight-shooter and tries to drive home the importance of every game, leaving the memory of the most recent victory, or loss, in the past.
Matt’s Keys to the Game:
- Slowing Down Darren McFadden: This one is a no-brainer but you can’t stop him, you can only hope to contain him. McFadden and Felix Jones combine for one of the most prolific running attacks in the NCAA and play out of the “Wild Hog” formation that has them currently sitting as the 4th ranked team in rushing among all Division 1 schools. Kentucky held the Louisville rushing attack to 101 yards last week, but that shouldn’t be expected of them this week and, for lack of a better explanation, the “bend but don’t break” idea is what would best describe what Kentucky needs out of their defense. An all out stop is not expected or even remotely realistic, but slowing down the run game enough to try to force Arkansas to win through the air would be extremely advantageous to victory.
- Getting Rafael Little Going Early And Often: Kentucky’s rushing game is actually no slouch in itself as the Wildcats boast the 11th ranked rushing team in America, a fact somewhat overshadowed by Andre Woodson and the potent passing offense. However, most Kentuckians will agree, Rafael Little was one of the relatively unheralded keys to victory over Louisville with his 151 yards rushing on 27 attempts (5.6 per-carry average). Establishing Little really helped Kentucky control the tempo of the game while on offense and doing so against Arkansas will reap the same benefits, as well as opening up the passing game for Woodson, Burton, and Company.
- Special Teams: Miscues in both the kicking game, a facet that has struggled mightily all season, as well as in kickoff coverage plagued the ‘Cats against Louisville but, fortunately for Kentucky, it did not end up being the difference in the game, though it very well could have been. Kentucky needs to improve substantially in this department as to not give Arkansas any fortuitous field positioning through missed field goals and blown kickoff and punt coverages. Kentucky needs to force Arkansas in long-field situations, requiring the Hogs to go the length of the field on the back of McFadden.
Matt’s Blueprint for Success:
If I had to pick one situation to allow Kentucky the best chance at victory is jumping out to an early lead if they can capitalize on having the ball first or on forced turnovers. We all know Kentucky will score some points, and obviously simply scoring points is the lone idea of any sporting event, but if Kentucky can get some of those points early it will take the crowd out of the game as well as possibly forcing Arkansas in to a few more unexpected passing situations. If you let Arkansas establish McFadden and Jones and control the game early, getting the crowd in to the game while Kentucky is on offense, the Wildcats will have a much tougher road to hoe.
The Nation is in for another exciting contest courtesy of Kentucky as this game pits the Wildcats’ explosive offensive attack against the Razorbacks’ organized and extremely well-versed offensive style of their own. Expect a great game in Fayetteville with all of the action airing live on ESPN2 at 6:00PM EST.
This entry was posted on September 22, 2007 at 1:42 AM and is filed under Kentucky Wildcats, NCAA Football. Tagged: AUTHOR:MJ. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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