One week is history and now it’s on to Week #2 in the SEC. Below you’ll find all of this week’s MrSEC game preview capsules.
Good luck to your favorite team on Saturday!
Miami (OH) (0-1) at Kentucky (0-1)
TV: Fox Sports Net, 12:00pm ET
Opening Line: UK – 13.5
Current Line: UK -17
One To Watch: Quarterback Max Smith. His Week One effort wasn’t a thing of beauty, but he did throw the ball better than Jalen Whitlow. If Neal Brown’s Air Raid offense is going to be consistent this year, Smith needs to claim the starting job for good.
This And That:
1. Kentucky’s loss to Western Kentucky last week should’ve served as a wake-up call for anyone who thought Mark Stoops could turn the Wildcats around quickly. If UK somehow finds a way to lose this one, Stoops’ job will become even tougher as some of the first-year excitement his program has benefited from will surely evaporate.
2. Most depressing from last week’s loss was Western Kentucky’s ability to run on Kentucky. Stoops’ new defense was bullied up front to the tune of 216 yards. Miami doesn’t appear to be the same threat that WKU was, however. The RedHawks managed just 74 rushing yards in a 52-14 defeat to Marshall last week.
3. One positive for UK in its opener was its own ground game. Like the Hilltoppers, the Wildcats also pounded out 216 yards on the ground. Expect more of the same from Kentucky as Miami allowed Marshall to rush for 304 yards on 57 carries in its opener.
Prediction: Kentucky 28, Miami (OH) 17
#12 Florida (1-0) at Miami (FL) (1-0)
TV: ESPN, 12:00pm ET
Opening Line: UF -2
Current Line: UF -3
One To Watch: Hurricane RB Duke Johnson. Johnson rushed for 186 yards on 19 carries last week against Florida Atlantic. He’s the man that makes the Miami offense go and if Florida shuts him down, the Canes’ won’t have much chance of springing the upset.
This And That:
1. A lot has been made over the fact that these in-state rivals aren’t likely to see one another for a long time after tomorrow’s game. Technically, it’s been a long time since their last meeting back in 2003. Like football fans everywhere, we feel it’s sad to see this rivalry go. But the reality is that it actually went a long time ago.
2. Florida’s offense was its meat-grinder self last week against Toledo. The Gators ran the ball 48 times and passed it just 22. That’s not surprising. UF threw just 288 passes a year ago which ranked 13th in the SEC. Expect Brent Pease to follow Will Muschamp’s script once again on Saturday — run the football, control the clock, win with defense. And this week, the Gators will get a boost with the return of starting running back Matt Jones.
3. Miami churned out 303 yards on the ground against Florida Atlantic last week. They won’t have that kind of success against Florida (Atlantic and Gulf) tomorrow. The Gators held a decent Toledo team to just 50 yards on the ground last weekend. Only one opponent has gained more than 150 yards rushing against UF in its last 16 games (Kentucky, 159, last September).
Prediction: Florida 24, Miami (FL) 13
Western Kentucky (1-0) at Tennessee (1-0)
TV: SEC Network, 12:21pm ET
Opening Line: UT -13.5
Current Line: UT -13.5
One To Watch: WKU coach Bobby Petrino. The Hilltoppers’ new coach continues his 2013 Revenge Tour with a trip to Knoxville. Last week he showed Kentucky what they missed out on by passing on him. This week he’ll try to do the same to the decision-makers at Tennessee.
This And That:
1. Western Kentucky will be a much trickier test for the Vols than Austin Peay was a week ago. UT kept things pretty vanilla in its opening day win, but the drop off between the first- and second-teams was apparent. Anyone thinking that Tennessee has a “depth” advantage on WKU needs to realize that Butch Jones has been dealt a thin roster that’s still trying to recover from the attrition associated with multiple coaching changes in a short span of years.
2. The best way to keep Petrino’s potent offense off the field is for the Volunteers to control the clock and the ball via their run game. In its loss to the Hilltoppers, Kentucky managed to gallop for 216 yards on 32 rushing attempts. Expect the Vols to take a run-first approach on Saturday in an effort to move the ball, chew the clock, and protect a somewhat green defense. Don’t be surprised to see UT slow down its no-huddle offense a bit, either.
3. Tennessee’s defensive line will be tested by a stronger-than-expected WKU rushing attack. Unfortunately for the Vols, they will not have injured D-linemen Jacques Smith or Corey Vereen back for this one. Linebacker Curt Maggitt will be back in action but if Antonio Andrews (99 yards vs UK) and Leon Allen (92 yards vs UK) are getting to Maggitt and the second level consistently, that won’t be a good sign.
Prediction: Tennessee 27, Western Kentucky 24
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