Scout.com/Jeff Drummond

Breaking down the Kentucky Wildcats' matchup against the Eastern Kentucky Colonels

This AllWildcats.com feature gives you everything you need to know about the Kentucky Wildcats' matchup with the Eastern Kentucky Colonels on Saturday at Commonwealth Stadium.

KENTUCKY vs. EASTERN KENTUCKY

WHEN: SATURDAY, OCT. 3, 7:30 P.M. ET

WHERE: COMMONWEALTH STADIUM (61,000) LEXINGTON, KY.

TV: SEC NETWORK ALT. CHANNEL

 

KENTUCKY WILDCATS

Record: 3-1 (2-1 SEC)

Ranking: Not ranked (RV in Coaches’ Poll)

Coach: Mark Stoops (Iowa, 1989)

Record: 10-18 (Third season) at UK: 10-18 (Third season) vs. EKU: 0-0

Series Record: UK leads 3-0; Last meeting: UK 37, EKU 12 in 2009

Previous Game: Kentucky 21, No. 25 Missouri 13

Next Game: Oct. 15 vs. Auburn

 

EKU COLONELS

Record: 2-1 (1-0 OVC)

Ranking: No. 18 in FCS Poll

Coach: Dean Hood (Ohio Wesleyan, 1986)

Record: 51-34 (8th season) at EKU: 51-34 (8th season) vs. UK: 0-1

Previous Game: EKU 51, Austin Peay 13

Next Game: Oct. 8 vs. Tennessee Tech

 

BIG BLUE KEYS TO THE GAME:

When Kentucky has the ball… The biggest challenge for the Cats today versus an FCS opponent may be getting refocused and matching the Colonels’ intensity with UK coming off three consecutive hard-fought SEC games. On a day that could be cold, windy and rainy at Commonwealth Stadium, expect UK to lean heavily on its offensive line and running game, which has Stanley “Boom” Williams averaging 7.3 yards per carry and Jojo Kemp posting 5.4 yards per carry. Kemp is slated to open as the starter with Williams’ status unknown after missing two practices earlier this week and dealing with what Stoops described as a “personal issue.” Another angle to watch is the anticipated first game appearance of redshirt freshman quarterback Drew Barker. Stoops does not have a preset time for Barker to enter the game, but says he’ll definitely play against the Colonels. Kentucky must be prepared to protect all of its quarterbacks against one of the best pass rushers in college football, EKU junior defensive end Noah Spence (No. 9, 6-3, 261). The former 5-star high school prospect played his first two years at Ohio State before off-the-field problems led to a transfer. He was first-team All-Big 10 as a sophomore after recording eight sacks. Spence has 15 tackles, three sacks, three quarterback hurries and two forced fumbles in three games for the Colonels this season.

 

When EKU has the ball… The Cats will be facing an offense that has scored more than 50 points in two of its first three games, although the other matchup was a shutout at the hands of N.C. State. EKU has always been known for its strong rushing attack, but has not been able to get it going early in the season. Part of that is due to the absence of former UK player Dy’Shawn Mobley (No. 7, 6-0, 225), who has been hobbled by a strained hamstring and limited to just 13 carries this year. He was the OVC Player of the Year after rushing for 1,491 yards and 20 touchdowns last season. Former Bourbon County standout Kentayvus Hopkins (No. 22, 5-11, 185) is averaging 6.3 yards per carry. Florida transfer Adam Lane (No. 5, 5-7, 220) is another familiar name to watch. EKU quarterback Bennie Coney (No. 4, 6-2, 211), a Cincinnati transfer, has completed 60 percent of his passes for 493 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions through three games. The Kentucky defense is playing with a lot of confidence coming off SEC games in which it allowed only 14 points to Florida and 13 points to Missouri. The staff wants to get a longer look at several younger players and key reserves today, so keep an eye on safeties Darius West and Mike Edwards, cornerback Derrick Baity and linebackers Nico Firios, Josh Allen and Jordan Jones.

 

MILESTONE WATCH:

Kentucky junior quarterback Patrick Towles needs 374 yards passing to move ahead of Randy Jenkins (1979-83) for eighth place in UK history… Junior wide receiver Ryan Timmons needs 64 yards receiving to become just the 25th playe in school history to reach 1,000 career receiving yards.   

ON THIS DAY IN UK HISTORY:

Kentucky last won on Oct. 3 in 1987 when the Wildcats defeated Ohio 28-0 at Commonwealth Stadium with Mark Higgs rushing for 169 yards and three touchdowns.

NOTES:

  • This game marks the 100th anniversary of UK’s first Homecoming game.
  • October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. UK players will don pink accessories on Saturday to help increase awareness of the disease.
  • Kentucky is coming off its first win over a ranked opponent in the Mark Stoops Era, a 21-13 win last Saturday over No. 25 Missouri.
  • The Wildcats have opened the season with four consecutive games decided by eight points or less, the longest streak of its kind for UK since the 1998 season.
  • Junior RB Jojo Kemp led Kentucky with 13 rushes for 66 yards in the win over Missouri, giving him 1,005 yards in his career. He became the 34th player in UK history to run for 1,000 yards in his career.

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