2011 Predictions & Game Story
Week 2 - CMU at Kentucky
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- at Kentucky 27 … Central Michigan 13
CFN Analysis: COMING
(AP) LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Josh Clemons scored on an 87-yard run, and Morgan Newton ran in a fourth-quarter touchdown to seal Kentucky's 27-13 comeback win over Central Michigan on Saturday.
On Clemons' score, he ran inside and bounced off a tackler before he sprinted down the right sideline. His touchdown run became the longest in school history for a freshman, and the longest for a UK player of any class since Bernie Scruggs ran for 88 yards on Oct. 24, 1970.
Central Michigan controlled the first half, leading 13-6 at halftime. The Chippewas had outgained Kentucky, 227 yards to 94, and controlled possession for just over 19 minutes in the first two quarters. They took a 3-0 lead early on a 19-yard field goal by David Harman and Kentucky answered on the next possession with a 45-yard Craig McIntosh field goal.
With 1:19 left in the first quarter, Central Michigan scored its only touchdown on a 24-yard pass from Ryan Radcliff to Jerry Harris. Harman hit a 30-yard field goal in the second quarter to give the Chippewas their biggest lead. They did not score for the rest of the game.
The Wildcats' offense had opportunities in the first half but never came away with more than a field goal. UK linebacker Danny Trevathan intercepted Radcliff and returned it 28 yards to the Central Michigan 11-yard line. With 1st and 10, Kentucky went three-and-out, and McIntosh missed a 24-yard field-goal attempt off the right upright.
But in the third quarter, Newton woke up the offense. He led a drive that ended in a 34-yard touchdown pass to La'Rod King with 4:07 left to tie the game at 13.
Clemons' touchdown run gave the Wildcats (2-0) their first lead of the game in the third quarter. He became the first Wildcats freshman to record a 100-yard rushing game since Arliss Beach in 2002.
Newton added a 1-yard touchdown run on a fourth-and-goal play to give the Wildcats a two-possession lead in the fourth quarter.
Ryan Radcliff threw for 295 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions for the Chippewas (1-1).
Central Michigan (1-0) at Kentucky (1-0) Sept.
10, 12:00, ESPNU
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Here's The Deal … These two played a fun, wild game in 2006 with Kentucky beating Central Michigan in a 45-36 shootout. But that was a different Chippewa team, and it's trying to get back to a MAC title level after a down 2010, while Kentucky is coming off a sleepy, ineffective win over Western Kentucky and has to try to regain the firepower it showed off the last time CMU came to town five years ago.
UK is still trying to find itself. It's trying to come up with a steady passing game, it's hoping for quarterback Morgan Newton to grow into the top talent many have been expecting him to become, and while the defense had a good performance, there's plenty of tightening up to do in several areas before the meant of the schedule starts to kick in. With a rivalry date with Louisville next week, and Florida, at LSU, and at South Carolina to follow, this is as easy as it'll get for a long stretch.
CMU came up with an easy 21-6 win over South Carolina State to kick off the season, but the offense didn't exactly look like it was back to the old Dan LeFevour days. Second-year head coach Dan Enos is coming off a miserable rookie year, but life isn't going to be easy with this game kicking off a run of three straight road games and seven in the next nine before closing out at home against Ohio and Toledo. No, this isn't the MAC title-contender of past years, but it's good enough to make this a game if UK plays like it did against WKU.
Why Central Michigan Might Win: Where's the Kentucky offense? Western Kentucky isn't exactly Alabama on defense, but it held the Wildcat attack to just 190 yards and didn't allow a thing through the air. The UK offensive line struggled against the aggressiveness of the Hilltopper front, and if CMU can get aggressive and if it can take a few chances, it has the potential shut down the offense for long stretches. The Chippewas are trying to get their linebackers in place, but the secondary can move and the front seven is ultra-athletic. They should be able to swarm around the UK running game and should be able to hang with the receivers just enough to confuse Newton.
Why Kentucky Might Win: … Where's the Central Michigan offense? South Carolina State isn't South Carolina, but the Chippewas weren't able to move the ball well enough to make it a breather, and there were way too many problems on third downs. The defense never let it become a game, but the pass protection was spotty and the running game wasn't there, finishing with just 88 yards and a score. CMU won't be able to run the ball a lick against a UK defensive front that held WKU's great back Bobby Rainey to a hard-earned 105 yards on 28 carries. After stuffing Kawaun Jakes and the Hilltopper passing game with four picks and allowing just 93 yards, the Wildcat pass defense is in midseason form. Now it gets to face an interception machine in …
What To Watch Out For: Chippewa quarterback Ryan Radcliff is supposed to grow into a yardage machine, but he had a rough first game barely hitting half his passes for 168 yards and two touchdowns with two picks. While he has a tremendous arm and great upside, he also has a penchant for giving the ball to the other team. CMU has to be nearly perfect to have a chance to win, and Radcliff has to be error-free.
Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly deserved the Butkus Award last year, but he's been strangely overlooked by the national media. That's a little bit understandable considering he plays in the Big East, but Kentucky's Danny Trevathan has been on the big SEC stage for years and he still can't get any semblance of respect despite being among the nation's best defenders. The 6-1, 230-pound weakside defender followed up an 82-tackle season with a team leading 144 tackles with three sacks and 16 tackles for loss. A 2010 CFN All-American, he's a speedster with tremendous toughness and limitless range. Last week, he owned WKU with 13 tackles, and he'll be front and center for the run defense against CMU.
What Will Happen: It's not going to be a scintillating game, but it'll be an effective one for Kentucky. After not doing nearly enough for the ground game last week, the Wildcat offensive line will control this week's game and should help take the pressure off Newton. CMU will give the ball away at least four times turning a relatively tight battle into a double-digit Cat win.
CFN Prediction: Kentucky 31 … Central Michigan 13
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Kentucky -13 O/U: 46.5
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