This Saturday, Auburn takes the field in Lexington, Kentucky, to face the Kentucky Wildcats. Auburn has an explosive quarterback in Cameron Newton, who leads the nation in pass efficiency. However, Kentucky has some explosive players of their own in Randall Cobb and Derrick Locke.
Before I preview the game, let's look back on this series historically. Auburn leads Kentucky in the all-time series, 24-6-1. Auburn is 12-2 at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn and 11-4 at Kentucky's Commonwealth Stadium.
Here's a look back at some notable games in this historical series:
1955: Auburn 14, Kentucky 14
Despite a 68-yard TD run by Fob James, Auburn couldn't beat the Wildcats and had to settle for a tie. This came two years before Auburn won the national championship.
1959: Auburn 33, Kentucky 0
James Pettus returned a kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown as Auburn cruised over the 'Cats.
1961: Kentucky 14, Auburn 12
In the first win ever at Jordan-Hare for Kentucky, Jerry Woolum threw a touchdown to Ton Hutchinson with 3:12 left to upset Auburn.
1971: Auburn 25, Kentucky 16
Pat Sullivan, two years removed from throwing four touchdowns against the Wildcats, would find Terry Beasely nine times for 194 yards and a touchdown. Sullivan would go on to win the Heisman Trophy that season.
1982: Auburn 18, Kentucky 3
On a day where the end zones were very lonely, Auburn kicker Al Del Greco made a school-record six field goals to give Auburn a 15-point win.
2004: Auburn 42, Kentucky 10
Carnell "Cadillac" Williams ran for 149 yards and two scores and Kentucky's offense had just over 110 yards of total offense in this game. This Auburn team went 13-0, won the Sugar Bowl, and set the standard for the SEC when it comes to competing for the BCS title.
2005: Auburn 49, Kentucky 27
Kentucky had nearly 450 yards of offense. However, Auburn had almost 550. Tristan Davis, Kenny Irons, and Tre Smith combined for 388 yards rushing as Auburn cruised over the Wildcats in Lexington.
2009: Kentucky 21, Auburn 14
Randall Cobb and Derrick Locke bounced off tackles all night to combine for over 250 yards rushing. The Wildcats stunned 14-point favorite Auburn in Jordan-Hare to win only their sixth game ever against Auburn.
History suggests Auburn will win this game handily; current stats also indicate that. Auburn's offense is very explosive while Kentucky has struggled mightily on that side of the ball in 2010. Kentucky's strength, running the ball (which is what they used to beat a weak Auburn defense last year), has to go against a defense that's giving up 92 yards a game on the ground, one of the best averages in the Southeastern Conference.
Tools to Victory
For Kentucky, they need to come out inspired and use this home crowd to their advantage. They also need to get the ball to Randall Cobb and Derrick Locke in space, because Auburn's secondary has been basically the only weak spot on this Auburn team so far.
For Auburn, they just need to work the plan. Do what you do! Let Cam Newton get it done with his feet and his arm. Also, make sure players like Philip Lutzenkirchen and Eric Smith are still a part of the passing attack. Also, get pressure on Hartline. If Nick Fairley plants him into the turf all game, throws will be inaccurate and Kentucky won't move the ball well.
Auburn and Kentucky come out of the tunnels to the annoying voice of the ESPN2 crew who run a very annoying segment called "Davie Jones' Locker." Auburn moves the ball early and storms out to a 14-0 lead after one quarter. Kentucky responds with a field goal in the second to cut it to 14-3. But back come the Tigers. Cam Newton finds Big Lutz in the end zone, and No. 8 Auburn leads at the break, 21-3.
In the third, Auburn scores a field goal on their first drive to make it 24-3 in favor of the Tigers. After intercepting a pass, Cam Newton finds an open Darvin Adams down the sideline, and it's 31-3 Auburn. But Kentucky doesn't throw in the towel. Randall Cobb scores a TD right before the end of the quarter to make it 31-10.
In the fourth, UK gets the ball back, and Hartline finds Derrick Locke from 15 yards out to make it 31-17. But Auburn won't let UK make the big comeback. They move down the field, chew some clock, and a Wes Byrum field goal makes the deficit too much for Kentucky.
Auburn 34, Kentucky 17