Kentucky quarterback Will Levis (7) runs the ball up the field during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Youngstown State in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Michael Clubb)

Northern Illinois vs Kentucky Preview

The undefeated (3-0) Kentucky Wildcats will host a matchup this week against the (1-3) Northern Illinois Huskies. This Kentucky team has started off on a roll holding the number eight ranked spot in college football. It would be an understatement to say that Northern Illinois would just be pulling off an upset against Kentucky. The odds are definitely stacked against them but as we all know, anything can happen. Kentucky will hope to stay on track against an unranked opponent on Saturday and hold their top 10 spot.

Defensive Differences

The Wildcats’ defense has been nothing short of spectacular. The defense has been a nightmare for opposing offenses this season and that includes the running and passing game. So far this season Kentucky has only allowed 10 points per game and only allowed 16 against the ranked Florida Gators. In their first three games of the season Kentucky has only allowed 152 passing yards a game. Leading that defense in tackles with 15 is linebacker J.J Weaver who has been all over the field in every game. He has been making his mark in the running and passing game, not much gets past him. The scary part for the Huskies is that Kentucky has another strong linebacker in Jordan Wright. Wright has been huge for this season being one of the leaders in tackles as well as contributing to a crucial pick-six against the Gators. That linebacker duo could look to rule the game on Saturday.

As for the Huskies’ defense, good luck. Northern Illinois has allowed 34 points per game in their first three games without playing a single ranked opponent so far. They had a lead against Vanderbilt going into halftime but collapsed in the third quarter giving up 21 points. Northern Illinois will need to look like a completely different team defensively if they hope to beat Kentucky.

Huskies Only Chance

Although Northern Illinois needs to buckle down defensively, they do have an offense that has been able to score at a high clip this year. It is early in the season but the Huskies have averaged 32 points a game this season. Running back Antario Brown has been the bright spot for this team this season. Brown has averaged five yards a carry this season on 41 attempts. If Northern Illinois can establish the running game and keep the Kentucky defense on their heels they could have a chance to do some damage. It would be important to control the clock so they don’t have to give the ball back to Quarterback Will Levis for Kentucky, who can beat teams in many different ways. You should never count anyone out, but from what we have seen from both teams so far,  Northern Illinois needs to be on their “A” game on Saturday.

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