Previewing Eastern Michigan Versus Kentucky

0
Previewing Eastern Michigan Versus Kentucky
File photo. Kentucky football is markedly improved over previous years. The Wildcats must now take care of lesser opponents when they play Eastern Michigan this weekend. (Photo courtesy Bryan Lynn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Previewing Eastern Michigan Versus Kentucky

For a 31st straight season the Wildcats lost a game to Florida and this one may go down as the worst. The goal now for Mark Stoops is to put it behind them and move on with the rest of the season. The healing begins on Saturday as they host the Eagles from Ypsilanti. Time to wrap up the past so that we can move forward with the business of Previewing Eastern Michigan Versus Kentucky.

So Close Once Again

Everything seemed to be in alignment for the Kentucky Wildcats to finally break the three decade losing streak to Florida. However as the “long suffering UK fan” can tell you nothing is ever certain when it comes to Kentucky football.

After an Austin Macginnis field goal put the Cats up 27-14 with 11:33 to go it looked as if the demons would be exorcised. But due to conservative play calling and the second of two total breakdowns on defense Kentucky came from ahead to lose 28-27. During the last 20 minutes of the game the Wildcats only threw three passes focusing mostly on the Wildcat.

Luke Del Rio came off the bench for Jim McElwain’s club to lead them to victory. He hit Freddie Swain with a five yard touchdown pass with :43 seconds left to put the Gators in the lead.

This was the second time in the game this happened which at the college level is totally inexcusable. Stoops said it has happened three times in his coaching career and all have been at Kentucky. The first was two years ago at Vanderbilt in a loss that cost the Wildcats a bowl berth. To his credit Stoops took full responsibility for the errors on Saturday but with all the coaches not only on the sidelines but in the press box how does this happen?

Even with the defensive breakdowns Stephen Johnson  nearly led the Cats to a miracle win. After a Benjamin Snell Jr. run got the ball to the Florida 25, the officials whistled Nick Haynes for holding moving the ball back to the 45. One quick completion later and Macginnis tried a 57 yard field goal that fell two yards short.

If ever there was a fourth quarter that summed up Kentucky football history then Saturday was it. Frustrations boiled over after yet another missed opportunity for the program to take the next step.

Scouting the Eagles

Eastern Michigan is led by Coach Chris Creighton who is in his fourth year at the MAC school. After going 3-21 in his first two years, the Eagles made a remarkable turnaround in 2016 finising 7-6 and making the Bahamas Bowl losing 24-20 to Old Dominion. The game was the school’s first bowl since 1987.

EMU comes into the game on Saturday with a 2-1 record that includes a a 16-13 win over Rutgers. That victory was the school’s first ever over a team from a Power Five Conference. Leading the attack for the Eagles is senior quarterback Brogan Roback. Through the season’s first three games Roback has thrown for 798 yards and two touchdowns.

In addition to Roback Kentucky will have to stop junior running back Shaq Vann who leads the club with 186 yards rushing. If the Eagles get near the goal line look for Ian Eriksen to get the ball. Eriksen leads the squad with three touchdowns.

On the other side of the ball Eastern Michigan ranks 15th in the nation in defense giving up less than 1,000 yards in three games. They are led by defensive back Brody Hoying, who has been putting up some impressive numbers this season.

Who Wins On Saturday?

It’s prediction time as we continue Previewing Eastern Michigan Versus Kentucky. After a game like last Saturday one of two things can happen. The first the team bounces back better than before and has a successful campaign. On the other hand the team never recovers and the season spirals downward. The coaching staff say Tuesday was the best practice all year so True Blue Fans are hoping for the former.

With Kentucky’s offense struggling at times in 2017 it will be interesting to see how Johnson and company fare against the Eagles. Look for them to come and continue to do what they have done all season establish the run behind Snell. Eddie Gran‘s offense has not put up more than 27 points in any game so far this year. As a result the Cats may have some trouble getting in the end zone against the strong Eagles’ defense.

Once Kentucky establishes the running game look for Johnson to find C.J. Conrad and Garrett Johnson to stretch the field. This will more than likely be a close game into the second half before Kentucky pulls away.

Kentucky 28  Eastern Michigan 14

Thanks for checking out this post Previewing Eastern Michigan Versus Kentucky here at Last Word On College Football. Next week the Cats jump back into conference play when they host Missouri.

LEAVE A REPLY