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Newton latest dual-threat challenge for Cats' D

  • By Jeff Drummond,

    Athletic quarterbacks who can hurt opponents with their arm or legs have played the kryptonite role to Kentucky’s defense in recent years. Last week proved to be another example as Mississippi’s Jeremiah Masoli threw three touchdown passes and ran for another score in the Rebels’ 42-35 victory.

    Now all the Wildcats have to do is bounce back from that loss against one of the most dangerous dual-threat quarterbacks in the country, Auburn’s Cameron Newton.

    “Another big challenge,” UK coach Joker Phillips said during Monday's press luncheon. “The thing that we have to do is prepare for a quarterback who’s probably playing as good as anyone in the country at the position – a big, strong physical guy. (Newton is) one of the leading rushers not only in this conference but in the country. For some reason, they did not run him last week. I guess they were holding him for this week.”

    The 6-foot-6, 247-pound Newton is more physically imposing than all of UK’s linebackers and is nearly as big as both starting defensive ends. He is the SEC’s fourth-leading rusher at 94.8 yards per game, averaging 6.2 yards per carry. But he’s also throwing the ball well, leading the league in passing efficiency at 191.4. He’s only thrown the ball 87 times for the Tigers, but 12 of those have gone for touchdowns.

    “He’s a guy that they create open opportunities in the passing game for him with his ability to run because you have to pack the box so much and come up and play the run and play-action with him stepping forward,” Phillips said.

    Last week, Newton completed a 94-yard touchdown pass to Emory Blake as the No. 8 Tigers rolled to 5-0 with a 52-3 win over Louisiana-Monroe.

    "They've got more of the quarterback run game than they had last year," Phillips said of the difference between this Auburn team and the one UK defeated 21-14 last season on the road. "He's added that dimension to them. Last year, they didn't have that... He's added a different spark to them offensively. He's the guy you have to stop in their offense. If you stop him, you've got a chance."

    Kentucky ranks 11th in the SEC in scoring defense (28.8 ppg) and rushing defense (166.2 ypg). The Wildcat pass defense is No. 1 in the SEC at 141.8 yards per game, but much of that is owed to the number of rushing attempts they have faced.

    Defeat doesn't finish a man - quit does. A man is not finished when he's defeated. He's finished when he quits. - Richard Nixon

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  • auman365

    "For some reason, they did not run him last week. I guess they were holding him for this week.”

    Hahahahahaha.......That is a little gem right there.

    What do you mean, "for some reason?" It was LaMonroe and he is a Hiesman candidate. Why in the hell would you play your star when don't have to? Oh yeah! They have to every week so that may not make sense to them.

    "This is the same team as last year other then the ability the QB has to run."

    NO, it's not the same team. Todd had arm issues and we had zero depth. This year we have cannon armed, running athlete, that happens to weigh more then your linebackers and as much as your DE's. Top that off with the recruits that we have to sub. in and this is not the same team as last year. Thus the number 8 ranking in the country.

    So you swept the state of Kentucky by beating up teams that are less superior in every facet of the game. Well we swept the state of South Carolina. Our Kings beat your Jacks.

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