Eastern Kentucky Versus Kentucky Preview
Hello everyone and welcome back to Last Word On College Football. Following a 24-17 win over Southern Mississippi, the Cats host visit from a school just 27 miles down the road. Let’s take an in depth look at this week’s game with the Eastern Kentucky versus Kentucky Preview. First a quick review of last week’s win.
A Tough Road Win
Mark Stoops’ club hit the road for the first time in five years to begin a season heading to Hattiesburg, Mississippi to play the Golden Eagles. The Cats raced to an early 14-3 lead and for a while it looked like a blowout. However, Jay Hopson’s team came right back and cut the lead to 14-10 early in the third quarter.
In fact, Ware had such a good performance on Saturday he was rewarded with an SEC Player of the Week honor.
— SEC (@SEC) September 5, 2017
When Southern Miss cut the lead to seven, the defense stepped up yet again. Chris Westry forced a fumble that was recovered by Courtney Love to stop the drive. On the Eagles final drive, true freshman linebacker Josh Paschal made a huge play to preserve the win.
More looks at the birth of a monster. Mr. Josh Paschal.
— Scott Charlton (@Scott_Charlton) September 2, 2017
After allowing 176 yards last season to Ito Smith, the Cats defense held him to only 37 yards on 16 rushes. However, the highly-touted Kentucky secondary was burned numerous times by the Golden Eagles passing game.
Backup quarterback Kwadra Griggs entered the game and threw for 222 yards and two touchdowns. For the Cats to have a successful season, the secondary has to perform better.
Scouting Eastern Kentucky
Eastern Kentucky at Kentucky- NOON SEC Network
Mark Elder is in his second second season as head coach of the FCS Colonels. They are coming off a 3-8 season and began the 2017 campaign with a 31-17 loss to Western Kentucky.
Quarterback Tim Boyle lit up the Hilltopper defense for 320 yards and two touchdowns. Wide receiver Ryan Markush emerged as his favorite target hauling in seven receptions for 107 yards and two touchdowns. Eastern Kentucky had more first downs and won the time of possession against the high powered offense of Western Kentucky.
History Repeating Itself?
The last time these two schools met in 2015, Eastern nearly pulled off a huge upset. Trailing 27-13 late in the fourth quarter, Kentucky scored 14 points in five minutes to force overtime. In the first extra period, Patrick Towles found Dorian Baker for a 34-27 win.
With upcoming games against South Carolina and Florida, the Wildcats could be looking past the Colonels. However, Stoops needs only to show the film from two years ago to prove that shouldn’t be the case.
The Kentucky offense was very conservative under coordinator Eddie Gran, relying too much on the Wildcat. The Cats dealt with injuries on the offensive line and had trouble adjusting to the Golden Eagles’ stacking at the line of scrimmage. Benjamin Snell Jr. only had 67 yards rushing, and the Cats averaged a paltry 2.2 yards per rush.
This is the the home opener and first game at Kroger Field. The Cats are a much better team than two years ago and should dominate Eastern Kentucky. As a result, look for Kentucky to establish the running game under Snell and Sihiem King.
A strong rushing attack gives Stephen Johnson the ability to open up the passing game. Tight end C.J. Conrad had a great game against Southern Miss with 97 yards and a touchdown. The trick now is to get the rest of the receivers more involved.
If all goes according to plan, the Wildcats should open up a big lead into the third quarter which will give some younger players playing time. Stoops talked about playing backup quarterback Drew Barker against the Golden Eagles, however it didn’t happen. Look for Barker to get some work in this one.
With two tough conference games comign up, the Cats will get to 2-0 for the seventh time in the last ten years.
Kentucky 49 Eastern Kentucky 17
Thanks for checking out the Eastern Kentucky versus Kentucky Preview here at Last Word On College Football. Next time we will preview the Cats trip to Columbia, SC to face a tough South Carolina club.