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Playin' Nice: A Sea of Blue

Alex Scutchfield of A Sea of Blue offered us a short primer on what we can expect out of Kentucky this Saturday in Tiger Stadium.

1. Forty-five unanswered points last week versus ULM. The Kentucky offense has really been humming so far this year with Patrick Towles. What's he doing well?

People rave about Patrick's arm strength, but the thing that impresses me most is his mental makeup. He hasn't been perfect by any means, but when mistakes happen or things don't go his way, he doesn't get down. The rest of the offense feeds off that. Towles also has surprising speed and agility for a 6-5, pro-style quarterback. He can take off or extend plays with subtle maneuvers in the pocket. That stands out for UK fans, because we're used to seeing quarterbacks get caught in the pocket and hold the ball too long.

2. Is there more to this running game than just the Wildcat package?

It depends on the day. Offensive coordinator Neal Brown has shown he's not wedded to one style of play. Kentucky's decision to go Wildcat is frequently dictated more by the defense and game situation rather than a master plan. JoJo Kemp seems more comfortable running from the Wildcat, but there are days when someone else has the hot hand. Against ULM, Stanley "Boom" Williams had it going, Kemp did not and the Cats went conventional.

Braylon Heard was expected to be Kentucky's bell cow this year among the running backs. He missed the Ohio game with injury and has been somewhat nicked up all year. His health may also dictate what Kentucky tries to do with the run.

Kentucky's offensive line has been a tad inconsistent, which could also impact things.

3. On defense, the secondary has 11 interceptions in just six games. What's been working for that group?

The Cats have a perfect storm of sorts going on in the defensive backfield. Adding uber-talented JC transfer A.J. Stamps was a boon. He may be the best Kentucky DB since Trevard Lindley in the late 2000s. At the same time, UK has some other guys who took their lumps as younger players and their experience is starting to show.

Junior corners Cody Quinn and Fred Tiller and senior free safety Ashley Lowery have come into their own as upperclassmen. All have played from almost day one in their careers. With Kentucky relying heavily on the nickel package, sophomore Blake McClain has been a gem.

4. Any playmakers in the front seven that LSU should be aware of besides Bud Dupree?

Most would point to Dupree's bookend Za'Darius Smith as Kentucky next most explosive defensive player, but keep an eye on linebacker Josh Forrest.  He's a first year starter at linebacker who has improved every game, currently leading the team in total tackles (46) and tackles-for-loss (5). He put UK ahead for good against ULM last week with a 29-yard pick six late in the first half.

5. Mark Stoops seems to have Kentucky heading in the right direction. What's the mood around the program right now? What's this game mean to the Wildcat faithful?

Kentucky fans know that despite the team's fast start and LSU's less than perfect record, this one is a tall order at night on the road. Some think the SEC East title is in reach, but I think the vast majority would settle for a couple more wins and Kentucky's first bowl trip since 2010. Most of us are looking at this one as a puncher's chance opportunity. A win would mean a lot, as it would give Kentucky bowl eligibility, a likely top 25 ranking and an outside chance to host Gameday when Mississippi State comes to town next week. At the same time, a loss won't let too much air out of the balloon.