1. Best Player on The Field?
The Colonels may have him in the form of defensive end Noah Spence, who transferred to EKU after spending his first two years at Ohio State. The 6-foot-3, 261-poound Spence was a five-star prospect coming out of the Pennsylvania high school ranks. He quickly developed into one of the nation's most feared pass rushers as a sophomore with the Buckeyes, recording eight sacks en route to first-team All-Big Ten honors. But his reputation for partying off the field -- including extensive use of the drug Ecstasy -- eventually caught up with him, leading to legal troubles and the need to seek a new start in Richmond. UK's offensive tackles have been tested by elite pass rushers from Florida and Missouri this season, with mixed results. This may be their best test yet. Spence ha 15 tackles, five tackles for loss, three sacks, three quarterback hurries and two forced fumbles in only three games this season. "Great player," UK head coach Mark Stoops said flatly during Monday's press luncheon. Keep your eyes on No. 9 in maroon and white. He'll be playing in the NFL very soon.
2. Colonels Schedule Fearlessly
Eastern Kentucky plays at the FCS level, but you'll find the Colonels on the schedule of some good programs year-in and year-out. Dean Hood's team has already faced N.C. State this year. The Wolfpack won 35-0, but playing a "Power 5" team won't be a shock to a team with several high-profile transfers (DE Noah Spence, Ohio State; LB D'vonta Derricott, Kansas State; QB Bennie Coney, Cincinnati (pictured above); RB Adam Lane, Florida; RB Dy'shawn Mobley, Kentucky; DL Patrick Graffree, Kentucky) on Saturday at Commonwealth Stadium. In 2014, the Colonels played Florida at "The Swamp" and won against an FBS opponent at Miami (Ohio). EKU has also faced Louisville, Purdue and Kansas State in the last five years.
3. Defend Your Borders
EKU junior wide receiver Devin Borders is an impressive physical specimen at 6-foot-6 and 220 pounds, and he's used his length and athleticism to make an impact not only on offense (9 receptions for 91 yards) but also on special teams. The Florida native blocked a field goal attempt earlier this season against N.C. State and a punt against Austin Peay, giving him 12 career blocked kicks. That's an OVC record and places him within five of the national FCS record. The Wildcats will have to be on high alert for the clone of former UK kick-blocking specialist Lonnell Dewalt, who blocked seven kicks as a freshman for the Big Blue in 2004.
4. Mobley on The Mend?
Perhaps no player will be looking forward to playing Saturday than EKU senior running back Dy'Shawn Mobley... if he's able to go. Mobley, the preseason OVC Player of The Year and All-American candidate, has carried the ball only 13 times this season due to a nagging hamstring injury. Last season, he was a finalist for the Walter Payton Award honoring the FCS player of the year after rushing for 1,491 yards and 20 touchdowns. The former UK player rushed for 143 yards against Tennessee in his final game as a Wildcat before deciding that he would not be a big enough part of the program under new head coach Mark Stoops.