(video courtesy of ESPN)
Kent State Golden Flashes (1-0, 0-0 MAC) at Kentucky (0-1, 0-0 SEC)
Kickoff: Saturday, 7:35 p.m. ET (CSS)
Spread: Kentucky by 7
Watchability: This one ranks near the bottom on the watchability scale. It’s perhaps the worst team in the conference against a mediocre MAC opponent. It could be a close game, but not one worth spending a lot of time watching.
Shining stars: Kentucky: QB Maxwell Smith was a bright spot for the Wildcats, despite their 32-14 season-opening loss at Louisville. Smith completed 35 of 50 passes (70 percent) for 280 yards and two touchdowns. After battling with QB Morgan Newton for the starting role in fall camp, he appears to have it locked down for now. Kent State: He’s only 5-foot-8, but RB/WR/KR Dri Archer is electric. Towson found that out the hard way last week. Archer ran a 98-yard kickoff return back for a touchdown, and added two more scores on the ground as Kent State defeated Towson 41-21. He’s a threat running, catching and returning.
Who could steal the show: Kentucky: DE Collins Ukwu is the most reliable player on the Wildcats’ defense. The senior had a sack and a forced fumble against Louisville. He’s their best chance at creating a big play on defense. Kent State: S Luke Wollet was the defensive star against Towson. He led the team with nine tackles, and he recorded an interception. It was a big start to 2012 after he had a reliable 2011 season with 65 tackles and four interceptions.
Magic number for Kentucky: 6. The Wildcats have won all six meetings over Kent State.
Magic number for Kent State 6. Six is also how many turnovers Kent State forced against Towson last week. If it can get even half of that total against Kentucky, it should have a chance.
The game comes down to: Kentucky must play better on defense than it did against Louisville. The Wildcats gave up close to 500 yards, including 219 on the ground to the Cardinals. Kent State isn’t as talented offensively, but it can hang around if Kentucky doesn’t get quick stops.
Prediction: Kentucky 20, Kent State 17
For more up-to-the minute news and analysis from SEC bloggers Larry Hartstein and Daniel Lewis, follow @CBSSportsSEC.