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Mizzou's next opponent gets good game from QB

2012-10-22T00:15:00Z 2012-10-22T05:25:07Z Mizzou's next opponent gets good game from QBBY STU DURANDO • sdurando@post-dispatch.com > 314-340-8232 stltoday.com

Kentucky's near-upset against Georgia came with the Wildcats using a two-quarterback approach that was partly planned and partly out of necessity.

Coaches had indicated that ailing senior Morgan Newton would be used to give freshman Jalen Whitlow breaks if he needed time to gather himself. But when Whitlow suffered a migraine, Newton was forced to play the entire second half with an injured shoulder.

He ran for a touchdown, threw for another and led a drive that resulted in a field goal, but the Wildcats fell short 29-24 a week before they will play at Mizzou.

Coach Joker Phillips, however, remains sold on Whitlow.

"Jalen has never looked uncomfortable," he said in his postgame news conference. "Maybe to (the media), but he's never looked uncomfortable because he always has a good demeanor. He doesn't get rattled."

Whitlow has played in six games, completing 34 of 73 passes (47 percent) for 368 yards. He has one touchdown pass and has thrown two interceptions. Newton is 10 for 32 (31 percent) with one TD pass and three interceptions.

Kentucky has had plenty of quarterback problems since starter Maxwell Smith was sidelined with an ankle injury.

Kentucky has used four quarterbacks, including freshman Patrick Towles, who would have otherwise been red-shirted.

Phillips went to Newton early against the Bulldogs, inserting him when the Wildcats reached the red zone on their first possession.

"I just think it's good for a young guy like Jalen to be able to step back after a couple series," Phillips said. "(Saturday) it was during the first series, step back, see the game from the sideline, let the game slow down a little bit. We got Morgan in there on the first series in the red zone. I think the red zone is usually when you like to do your wildcat stuff. That's what Morgan is for us, a wildcat quarterback at times. In the red zone you'll see him more."

MOUNTAINEERS. SMITH FADING

Two weeks ago, West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith was being touted as the front-runner for the Heisman Trophy. But Smith and his once-powerful offense have gone sour.

The Mountaineers averaged 52 points in their first five games but have scored 14 in each of their last two and had only one offensive touchdown in a 55-14 loss to Kansas State. Smith passed for 143 yards and threw his first two interceptions of the season. West Virginia had the ball three times in the first half and went nowhere.

"There are a bunch of reasons for that and it all starts with not blocking very well," coach Dana Holgorsen said. "The pass protection wasn't very good, we didn't get open and we didn't make good throws."

KLEIN ON THE RISE

Smith's decline has opened the door for Heisman challengers, including Kansas State's Collin Klein, who tore the West Virginia defense apart. Klein may have moved to the head of the list after completing 19 of 21 passes for 323 yards and three touchdowns and running for four scores.

Klein doesn't have the massive yardage and touchdown numbers of some quarterbacks, but he ranks second nationally in passing efficiency and is fourth in points responsible for at 20.6 a game.

PENN STATE WINS AGAIN

Although written off as a nonfactor in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal, Penn State is proving to be more than formidable despite its array of woes, including the loss of several key players.

The Nittany Lions are riding a five-game winning streak after trouncing Iowa 38-14 on the road and face a huge home meeting with Ohio State this week in a battle of teams that are unbeaten in Big Ten play. They received 18 points in this week's national rankings.

"When you play football at Penn State, and I'm a rookie at Penn State, but you have a hell of a lot to play for," coach Bill O'Brien said.

FSU'S THOMPSON INJURED

Florida State running back Chris Thompson injured his left knee and had to leave the Seminoles' 33-20 win over Miami, prompting coach Jimbo Fisher to tell reporters, "It's scary. It scared me a little bit." Fisher said Thompson will have an MRI today.

Thompson has run for 687 yards, an average of 7.5 a carry, and five touchdowns. He also is the team's third-leading receiver with 21 catches.

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