Auburn Football: Will Tigers Play Better On Second Road Trip at Kentucky?

Kevin McGradySenior Writer IOctober 5, 2010

AUBURN, AL - SEPTEMBER 25:  Philip Lutzenkirchen #43 of the Auburn Tigers celebrate after pulling in this go-ahead touchdown reception against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Jordan-Hare Stadium on September 25, 2010 in Auburn, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Kentucky Wildcats will be hosting the Auburn Tigers this Saturday. Kickoff will be at 06:30 PM and it will be carried by ESPN 2.  

This is what some hope will be a payback game for the Tigers, as Kentucky embarrassed them at home in 2009.

The Kentucky game plan in 2009 was brilliant by accident. They had lost their starting quarterback to a season ending injury. This forced them into, what turned out to be, a brilliant strategy: They used a perimeter rushing attack to wear Auburn down.

This led to 14 unanswered points in the forth quarter and an embarrassing home loss for the Tigers. They left the field outplayed, demoralized, and out-coached.

This will be the first team that Auburn has faced the team that beat them last season; most Auburn fans want to know if the spirited never quit Tigers of 2010 are traveling to Lexington or if the 2009 version will make a return to the field.

In 2009, Kentucky came into this game with a record of 2-3 with the three losses being consecutive to Florida, Alabama, and South Carolina; this year, they play Auburn at home with a record of 3-2 with consecutive losses to Florida and Mississippi.

The Kentucky quarterback is in good health for this game and just came off of a 300 yard with two touchdowns performance at Ole Miss. Both Derrick Locke and Randall Cobb are still on the team—they combined for 247 yards of rushing in the 2009 game.

Why will Auburn play better in this game?

The Auburn offense played and executed very poorly in the 2009 Kentucky game.

They only gained a pathetic 315 yards of offense interrupted frequently by penalties; this was when facing a defense that gave up an average of 359 yards of offense all year.

The chances of the Auburn offense playing that poorly are very slim. It is more likely that Auburn will put up very respectable numbers in this game. Auburn fans can expect more than 400 yards of offense.

Cameron Newton is an element that Kentucky has no answer for. They will attempt to focus and stop him. This will allow Newton to pick apart the Kentucky defense with short and midrange passes to Philip Lutzenkirchen and Mario Fannin. This will in turn open up the deep routes to Darvin Adams and Terrell Zachery.

Mike Dyer is the perfect running back to attack the Kentucky defense with. They have an awful time tackling running backs with similar styles. He is likely to have a stellar day against the Wildcats. They have given up in excess of 150 yards to running backs twice this season.

Onterio McCalebb will give Auburn a speed option to burn the Kentucky defense when they focus on Dyer. He should break a couple of big gainers in this game.

Defensive Line is strong and deep this year. They will come in and force Kentucky to play on the parameter. Sacks will be hard to come by in this game as Kentucky runs a short quick release passing attack.

Defensive Strategy will take away long impact plays and force Kentucky to operate close to the line of scrimmage. This will allow the defensive line and linebackers to curb the Wildcats will.

Kentucky is giving up over 28 points per game and has yet to play a good offense. This will be their first meeting with exactly that.

How Will Kentucky Attack?

Kentucky will try to establish a running game with Derrick Locke and the defensive line will have to contain this.

Mike Hartline runs a short dink-n-dunk passing attack—it is the same type of attack Auburn has given up massive yards to all year.

Defensively, Kentucky should be outmatched in this game. If this does not happen immediately, it could lead to a long night for the Tigers.

Seasonal Comparison Average Per Game




Total Offense

475.4 yards

453.6 yards

Average Per Play

7.25 yards

6.57 yards




Passing Offense

206 yards

263.8 yards

Average Per Attempt

10.75 yards

7.85 yards




Pass Efficiency Rating






Rushing Offense

269 yards

189.8 yards

Average Per Carry

5.8 yards

5.36 yards




Kick Return Average

23.25 yards

23.16 yards

Punt Return Average

7.69 yards

10.06 yards




Scoring Offense

36.6 points

36.4 points




Sacks Allowed






Total Defense

334.6 yards

308 yards

Average Allowed Per Play

4.6 yards

5.02 yards




Pass Defense

241.8 yards

141.8 yards

Average Allowed Per Attempt

6.43 yards

5.8 yards




Pass Efficiency Defense






Rushing Defense

92.8 yards

166.2 yards

Average Allowed Per Carry

2.64 yards

4.47 yards




Scoring Defense

18.8 points

28.8 points







Tackles For Loss



What to Expect

Auburn will drive the ball consistently and regularly in this game. Kentucky has no answer for either Cameron Newton or Mike Dyer behind the Auburn offensive line.

The Auburn defense will give Kentucky the short pass and limit impact plays. Kentucky will put up a lot of offense and not as much scoring.

Auburn should win this game and then turn their attention to Arkansas.