Three keys to WKU beating IU

Jonathan Lintner

1. Find offensive balance

Junior running back Bobby Rainey will be good. We know that much.

But that WKU’s passing game will show up Saturday is about as questionable as Eric Bledsoe’s high school diploma.

Although the Toppers’ offense started quick with a 59-yard Rainey touchdown, the unit stalled for the rest of the quarter. It’s no coincidence that during that time — when Kentucky outscored WKU 14-0 to head to the second quarter with a lead — sophomore quarterback Kawaun Jakes completed just one pass.

Whether it’s a quarterback thing or a receiver thing or an offensive line thing, something needs to change and balance a WKU offense that’s rushed for 366 yards yet passed for only 217 through two games.

2. Take pressure off the secondary

Junior defensive end Jared Clendenin and sophomore defensive lineman Quanterus Smith joked during fall camp about who could make it to the quarterback first, saying they’d settle for slapping hands upon arriving in the opposing backfield at the same time.

Well, the WKU secondary is still waiting to actually see that happen.

UK quarterback Mike Hartline dissected the Toppers’ defensive backs last weekend, completing 16 of 20 passes for 213 yards. That can’t happen when Indiana trots in senior quarterback Ben Chappell, who posted similar numbers against Towson in the Hoosiers’ only game this season. The only solution, it would seem, is for Clendenin, Smith and anyone who dare blitz Indiana to make it worth the while and end up in the backfield.

3. Prevent the big play

Kentucky scored on plays of 50 and 35 yards last Saturday and the Wildcats’ do-it-all offensive weapon, Randall Cobb, averaged just under 20 yards per reception and more than six yards a rush.

In short, the UK offense did as it pleased.

There might not be a solution for the WKU defense this season. The personnel might not be there. But the Toppers can do more — and they echo this — to tackle. Because at the very least, that will stop the big plays.