5 Things Auburn Has To Do To Beat Kentucky

5 Things Auburn Has To Do To Beat Kentucky

Let’s get this straight. I am a UK fan. A self-proclaimed homer for the Kentucky Wildcats.

I was going to write about what UK needs to do to beat Auburn, but ultimately decided that the Cats already receive a much too small dose of respect as it is. As I type, the line currently shows Kentucky as a 7.5 underdog on Saturday. No surprise there with the game being played at Auburn and the teams being so closely matched up. I am looking at this game as more of a pick’em.  I am going to tell you what I think Auburn has to do to beat a very good Kentucky team. The pressure is on the Tigers, not the Cats.

1) Bo Nix must play extremely well.

As all UK fans know, Kentucky’s defense is legit. There are studs all over the defensive side of the ball and if they need to go to the sideline, there are studs subbing in for them. We’ve got strength and depth unlike I can ever remember in my lifetime. Auburn is going to need a near perfect game out of Bo Nix. He has a good corps of receivers to look for and Seth Williams is going to keep the Kentucky secondary very busy throughout the game. Even if our corners cover him very well, he is a strong possibility to receive  100 yards and to find the end zone at least once. The key will be to keep Nix from being comfortable in the pocket and force him to throw some bad balls.

2) Shaun Shivers needs to break a big run early.

Shivers speed is nothing to mess around with. If you miss a tackle at the line, he’ll break off another 20 yards before you have time to turn your head to see where he went.  Auburn needs to have some big plays in their running game to keep the Kentucky defense honest.

3) The Offensive and Defensive lines for Auburn can’t underestimate the strength they’re facing.

It almost seems impossible to even imagine, but Kentucky will have the capability of pushing Auburn off the line on just about every down. Our greatest strength is in the trenches, and for Auburn to beat Kentucky, they’re going to have to neutralize that strength as much as possible.

4) Big Kat Bryant needs to terrorize Terry Wilson.

Big Kat isn’t quite the edge rusher that Josh Allen was in college, but he’s First Team All-SEC pre-season and 2020 is likely going to be a statement year for him. If he’s going to climb the draft board this season, he will need a big start against Kentucky. Don’t be surprised to hear his name called on a possible sack or tackle for loss, even with him going up against our elite offensive line. After getting hurt last year, Terry will walking in to Auburn with a chip on his shoulder and ready to teach the folks at the SEC Network who Terry Wilson is.

5) Win the turnover battle.

In a matchup where both teams are so evenly matched by position, it could all come down to having the fewest turnovers. In 2019, Auburn was +6 while Kentucky was –1 in turnover margin. This doesn’t bode well for the Cats if they don’t protect the ball extremely well. A lot of this pressure falls on Terry Wilson and how often Auburn will be able to get to him while he is mid-throw or trying to stretch a play.

 

Ultimately, it is very possible that Kentucky will play a solid game and still walk away with an 0-1 record. Auburn is a very good football team that looks to win 7 or 8 of their 10 SEC games this season. If they underestimate Kentucky, they will be in for a big surprise in the first half on Saturday. Kentucky is either a tad better or close to even on every unit. My prediction is a fast start for Kentucky in a game that will be decided by a field goal attempt by either team at the end.

My score prediction… 27 to 24 in favor of the Cats.

Go Big Blue!

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