GAMEDAY: UK vs. Alabama State

This feature gives you everything you need to know about the Wildcats' Homecoming matchup against the Alabama State Hornets tonight at Commonwealth Stadium.

Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET
Commonwealth Stadium, Lexington, KY.

Play-by-Play Matt Stewart
Analysts Chris Doering
Sideline Kris Budden

Note: game also will be carried on, ESPN GamePlan, and Time Warner Cable in select part of Kentuckiana.


Record: 1-6, 0-4 Southeastern Conference
Ranking: Not ranked
Last game: L, 28-22 at Mississippi State (A)
Coach: Mark Stoops (Iowa, 1989)
Record: 1-6 (First season)
at UK: 1-6 (First season)
vs. ASU: 0-0

Record: 6-2, 6-1 Southwestern Athletic Conf.
Ranking: Receiving votes in FCS Coaches Top 25
Last game: W, 31-7 at Alabama A&M (A)
Coach: Reggie Barlow (Alabama State, 1997)
Record: 40-35 (Seventh Year)
at ASU: 40-35 (Seventh Year)
vs. UK: 0-0

First meeting between Kentucky and Alabama State.

8/31 vs. WKU [ESPNews] (Nashville) L, 26-35
9/7 Miami (Ohio) [Fox South] W, 41-7
9/14 #7/7 Louisville [ESPN] L, 13-27
9/28 #19/20 Florida* [ESPNU] L, 7-24
10/5 at 13/12 South Carolina* [FSN] L, 28-35
10/12 #1/1 Alabama* [ESPN2] L, 7-48
10/24 at Mississippi State* [ESPN] L, 22-28
11/2 Alabama State [CSS] 7:30 p.m.
11/9 Missouri* TBA
11/16 at Vanderbilt* TBA
11/23 at Georgia* TBA
11/30 Tennessee* TBA

Note: all times Eastern and subject to change * SEC game

8/31 Jacksonville State L, 22-24
9/7 at Jackson State* L, 23-30
9/14 at Arkansas-Pine Bluff* W, 40-39
9/21 Grambling State* W, 52-21
9/28 Alcorn State* W, 49-30
10/5 at Texas Southern* W, 34-2
10/12 Prairie View A&M* W, 48-42 (OT)
10/26 at Alabama A&M* W, 31-7
11/2 at Kentucky 7:30 p.m.
11/09 Southern* 2 p.m.
11/16 at Mississippi Valley State* 2 p.m.
11/28 Stillman 4 p.m.

Note: all times Eastern and subject to change * SWAC game

When Kentucky has the ball… The Wildcats must be prepared for a unique defensive scheme unlike any they've faced this season. The Hornets will blitz early and often, sending between seven and eight players into the backfield on running or passing situations. UK must be able to recognize when and where the pressure is coming from and execute. If the Cats handle the pressure, they could have many opportunities for big plays today. Don't be surprised to see UK turn a short pass or two into long scores. Also of interest today will be the quarterback situation. Will Jalen Whitlow go the distance, or will UK fans get a look at freshman Reese Phillips in action for the first time? It gives some added intrigue to the late out-of-conference matchup.

When Alabama State has the ball… The Hornets are a strong offensive club (37.4 ppg) and will arguably have the best player on the field Saturday in the form of running back Isaiah Crowell (#1, 5-11, 190 – 6.8 ypc, 12 TD) a former five-star prospect who was pursued by almost every major program in the country coming out of Carver High School in Columbus, Ga., in 2011 as the nation's No. 1 tailback prospect. He played his freshman season at UGA, where he showed flashes of his potential with 850 yards rushing before being dismissed from the program due to a felony weapons arrest. The Cats will need to be strong against the run early in the down sequence to force ASU into second- and third-and-long situations where they're not nearly as effective as when they're grinding out yards in the run game. Look for UK linebackers Avery Williamson and TraVaughn Paschal to play key roles in this game, as well as nickelback Blake McClain.

• Senior running back Raymond Sanders has 1,419 career rushing yards and needs 29 more to tie Bobby Cravens for 18th on UK's career rushing list.

• Junior defensive end Bud Dupree has 13.5 career sacks, needing 3.5 more to tie for fourth most all-time in school history.

• Junior defensive end Za'Darius Smith has 5.5 sacks this season needing just 3.5 more to tie for the fourth most sacks in a season in school history (Jeremy Jarmon 9 in 2007, Oliver Barnett 9 in 1988).

Saturday marks the 19th time in school history that the Wildcats have played a game on Nov. 2. Kentucky holds an all-time record of 10-8 on this date, including five wins in a row dating back to 1968. The most recent game on Nov. 2 was a 45-24 win over Mississippi State in 2002 in which Derek Abney returned two punts for touchdowns while Artose Pinner rushed for 104 yards and a score.

• Nineteen different UK players have made their first career starts for the Wildcats this season.

• UK has only been flagged 19 times in its last five games after receiving 21 penalties in the first two games of the season.

• UK has gone three consecutive games without a turnover. The Cats are tied for second in the nation in fewest turnovers (6).

• UK has scored on 16 of 20 trips into the redzone this season (10 touchdowns, 6 field goals). One of the four non-conversions was a taking a knee at the 5-yard line as the clock expired in the Miami (Ohio) win.

• UK had only 10 plays of 30-plus yards in 2012. The Cats have 12 so far this season, including Ryan Timmons' 51-yard touchdown catch last week.

• This will be the second time UK has faced star running back Isaiah Crowell, who faced UK while at Georgia in 2011. Crowell rushed two times for 11 yards in a 19-10 UGA win.

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