Game Day Preview: What you need to know about Kentucky-Auburn
Auburn and Kentucky will go head-to-head after enjoying bye weeks. The Wildcats have the potential to upset the Tigers in a sold-out Commonwealth Stadium.
Here’s what you need to know leading up to Thursday night’s game:
Auburn Tigers (3-2, 0-2) at Kentucky Wildcats (4-1, 2-1)
Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET Thursday (ESPN)
Weather: 69 degrees, no chance of rain
Line: Auburn -2.5 (according to Fantasy911.com)
By the numbers
100 – Kentucky has been perfect in the red zone this year. Auburn recovered two fumbles and had two interceptions in its last game against San Jose State, and the Tigers will have to continue playing strong defense to alter Kentucky’s perfection in the red zone.
230.6 – Kentucky quarterback Patrick Towles’ average yards passing (230.6) ranks him fifth in the SEC. He’s faced significant backlash on social media for the Wildcats’ offensive performance at times, but he’s completed 61.5 percent of his passes with eight touchdowns.
950 – Auburn’s rushing total (950), lands it at fourth in the SEC at 190 yards a game. Running back Peyton Barber has 558 of those yards and scored five touchdowns in the win over San Jose State.
Storylines to watch
Williams will be key for the Wildcats
After sitting out against Eastern Kentucky on Oct. 3 for undisclosed personal issues, sophomore running back Stanley “Boom” Williams returned during the bye week, surpassing Jojo Kemp on the depth chart for the starting job.
Kentucky’s running game had a tough time against Eastern Kentucky, but Williams is back with 343 rushing yards under his belt and an average of 7.3 yards a carry.
Auburn’s quarterback situation
Gus Malzahn has routinely announced the starting quarterback in his weekly media conferences.
Will it be Sean White or Jeremy Johnson?
Johnson has thrown for 473 yards, compared to White’s 296, but he’s also thrown six interceptions in four games.
White has completed 68.4 percent of his attempts, but wasn’t asked to throw much in the Tigers’ win over San Jose State.
Potential for an upset
Kentucky is coming off SEC wins over South Carolina and Missouri and is heading into the first Thursday night home game in 76 years with a winning record and a healthy team.
The Tigers are winless in the SEC and have struggled offensively thoughout this season.
Star receiver Duke Williams was dismissed last week and Malzahn is juggling quarterbacks.
Kentucky fans are high in anticipation and New Commonwealth Stadium will be packed for the nationally televised game.
Prediction: Kentucky 27, Auburn 24
All of Kentucky’s games have been decided by one score and three of Auburn’s games have come been that close, so expect another tight one.
Kentucky is healthy and “Boom” Williams is back, but Auburn, on the other hand, will be forced to compete without Duke Williams.
Towles could prove to be the difference.