Through the first few games, Auburn fans were craving a complete game—a game where the offense clicked, the defense dominated, and special teams played well.
Tiger fans finally got it.
No. 8 Auburn beat the University of Louisiana-Monroe, 52-3, outgaining the Warhawks 505-270, with only 38 of those 270 yards coming on the ground.
Auburn did have a turnover when Cam Newton threw an INT at the 1-yard line while being up 31-3. That was about the only bad thing to happen to Auburn all day.
The Tigers averaged 10 yards a play. The only punt of the day was by Newton himself. On he defensive side of the ball, Auburn held UL-Monroe to one field goal and no touchdowns.
Auburn looked like a top 10 team last Saturday. It didn't fall into an early slump and led 14-0 after four plays and 31-3 at the break. The team is once again 5-0, but you can tell this Auburn team will finish better than they did in 2009, when they went 3-5 to finish the season.
Now here comes Kentucky. The Cats lost to Ole Miss in a game that wasn't as close as the 42-35 score indicated. With Saturday's game is at Commonwealth Stadium and surely with a top 10 team coming in, the UK fans will be out in force, but that was also the case when Auburn won at Mississippi State in September.
Here are some keys to the game:
Get pressure on the QB
Mike Hartline is a decent QB for Kentucky who has some serious weapons at his disposal in Randall Cobb and Derrick Locke. Auburn defensive coordinator Ted Roof needs to dial up exotic blitzes to get to Hartline.
The secondary hasn't been exactly strong up to this point, but if Nick Fairley, Josh Bynes, and the rest of the gang can consistently put Hartline on his back, then the defense can shut down this 'Cats offense.
Judging on what Auburn's front seven has done against the run this season, it can be assumed RB Derrick Locke might now be a difference-maker. It should come down to pressure on Hartline. If it gets there, it could be a long night for Kentucky.
Let Cam Loose
Kentucky isn't strong against mobile QBs (see Florida's Trey Burton or Ole Miss' Jeremiah Masoli), and Newton has been close to unstoppable since offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn took the chains off in the South Carolina game.
Newton leads the SEC with 12 TD passes and is also a great runner (NOTE: He didn't have one run attempt against ULM, other than a sack). If he isn't shaken by the tough environment, he could have that game that makes him a serious Heisman candidate.
Remember Last Season
Hey Kentucky, Auburn is a sacrificial lamb on the hardwood when you play them. You aren't supposed to beat them on the gridiron! I kid, I kid...but that 21-14 loss to Kentucky last year should still be on the minds of players. It was shocking and so unexpected.
The differences between last year's team and this year's, however, are glaring. Last year Kentucky ran all over Auburn. Auburn's rush defense is excellent this season, while it was weak last year, and its offense has a whole new dimension that was missing last year.
Despite it being a road game, UK's offense won't be able to move with constant success when its main strength—running the ball—won't be effective. Too much Cam Newton, running and passing.
The score? Auburn 34, Kentucky 17.