Tape It Up: Kentucky: Stalled Offense

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Kentucky: Stalled Offense

Without a doubt, Kentucky has a few offensive superstars that combine to give the Wildcats the nation's eighth-ranked scoring offense, responsible for scoring an average of 42 points and racking up 467 yards per game. What is doubtful, going into Saturday's game against Mississippi State, is how many of those superstars will play. The Wildcats have had several playmakers limited in practice this week due to various ailments, and that could spell trouble for two-loss Kentucky.

Head coach Rich Brooks said on Wednesday that running back Tony Dixon, wide receiver Keenan Burton and tailback Rafael Little, the team's leading rusher, have all been limited in practices this week, making them questionable for Saturday.

"I'm not sure about their availability," Brooks said. "That'll be a day-to-day situation as we move forward."

Against MIssissippi State's 64th-ranked rush defense, the Wildcats could certainly rack up some points running the football, if only their top tailbacks could play. Little and Dixon are Kentucky's most productive backs, averaging 6.4 and 5.9 yards per carry, respectively. Both have three touchdowns to their name, and both will be missed, if they are unable to suit up come Saturday.

Luckily, the Wildcats have a third tailback also hovering around the 6-yards-per-carry mark. Freshman Derrick Locke is averaging 5.8 yards per carry with 351 yards and three touchdowns on the season. He is Kentucky's healthiest option at tailback going into this weekend, and will most likely see an increased load, especially if the other top rushers are out of commission.

Burton, a senior, is no slouch either - the team's leading receiver, Burton has caught 44 passes for 544 yards and six touchdowns. Quarterback Andre' Woodson will certainly miss his on-field presence, should Burton be unavailable on Saturday.

No SEC team can ever afford to take a conference game lightly, and Kentucky cetainly won't make that mistake against Mississippi State - this is the team responsible for knocking off Auburn in Week 3, the same Auburn team that went on to hand Florida its first loss two weeks later. If the Wildcats' playmakers are unable to play, Kentucky will need to come up with a new game plan, and fast, to avoid dropping its second SEC contest in as many weeks.

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