A week ago Mark Stoops and the Kentucky Wildcats kicked off the 2019 season with a 38-24 win over Toledo of the Mid-American Conference. On Saturday they face their second straight MAC opponent as Eastern Michigan comes to town. Can the Wildcats start 2-0 for a third straight year? Let’s find out as we begin previewing Eastern Michigan at Kentucky.
A Slow Start But A Good Finish
Last Saturday the Wildcats started slow letting the Rockets score on the opening possession. In fact the game was tied at 14 at the half. However the Cats finally took over in the second period putting the game away before a late touchdown made the score closer than it really was.
Terry Wilson looked very sharp in the season opener connecting on 19 of 26 passes for 246 yards and two touchdowns. Most importantly for True Blue Fans Wilson had no turnovers. The Widcats’ “three headed snake” ruushing attack accounted for 176 yards on the ground. Kavosiey Smoke led with 78 yards on the ground.
Previewing Eastern Michigan at Kentucky
As they do almost every game, look for Kentucky to try to establish the running game early on Saturday behind A.J. Rose, Chris Rodriguez and Smoke. Once that happens the passing game should open up. Wilson hit eight different receivers against Toledo led by Lynn Bowden’s six receptions for 77 yards. As we mentioned last week another player to look out for is Ahmad Wagner. The former Iowa basketball player hauled in three pass for 57 yards. In addition look for him around the goal line in a “jump ball” situation.
On the other side of the ball the defense played well following a slow start. Sophomore DeAndre Square was the break out player for Brad White’s defense. Square finished with 11 tackles, one half sack and an interception. In fact he got a mention from ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit.
After 5 straight days of CFB here are the performances that stood out to me. Many more obviously..but wanted to recognize these 5! pic.twitter.com/tQVaJQVGfL
— Kirk Herbstreit (@KirkHerbstreit) September 3, 2019
Kentucky’s young defensive gets another opportunity to gain valuable experience on Saturday before SEC play begins.
Scouting The Eagles
Chris Creighton’s club comes into Saturday off a 30- 23 road victory at Coastal Carolina. Trailing 13-7 at the half the Eagles rallied for a victory behind quarterback Mike Glass. For the game Glass accounted for all four touchdowns, three passing and one rushing. In addition he completed 20 of 22 passes for 188 yards.
His favorite target against the Chanticleers was wide receiver Dylan Drummond who had five catches for 52 yards and two touchdowns. Stopping Drummond and Arthur Jackson III is going to be a key for a Kentucky victory. The totally rebuilt Kentucky secondary performed well against Toledo following a shaky start.
Another big play guy for Eastern Michigan is running back Shaq Vann, who ran for 84 yards last week. A season ago Vann rushed for 580 yards and found the end zone five times. Keeping him is check is another key to a Wildcat victory.
The Last Time They Met
Kentucky and Eastern Michigan have played only once in history, that coming two years ago. The Eagles actually won most of the statistical categories and showed no fear coming into Lexington. However the Wildcats won the turnover battle and turned that into a 24-20 victory. It took a Mike Edwards interception of a Brogan Roback pass to cement the win.
(Video courtesy of Kentucky Wildcats TV via youtube.)
Originally Saturday’s contest was supposed to be played in Ypsilanti, however the Cats “bought out” the game for $800,000. Kentucky and Eastern Michigan will play again next year in the September 5th season opener at Kroger Field.
Who Wins On Saturday
While the Wildcats opened as a 14 point favorite the Eagles won’t be intimidated coming into Lexington. The last two years Eastern Michigan has knocked off a Power Five school on the road. In 2017 they beat Rutgers 16-13 and last year they went into West Lafayette and upset Purdue 20-19.
Glass is a dual threat quarterback and those have given the Wildcats fears over the years. However Kentucky should be able to take advantage of an EMU defensive front which only returns one starter.
A win Saturday gives the Cats a 2-0 start for the fourth time in Stoops’ seven years in Lexington. Look for Wilson and the running backs to have a big day on Saturday as Kentucky wins pretty easily.
Kentucky 41- 20
Thanks for previewing Eastern Michigan at Kentucky with us here at Last Word On College Football. We will have a recap after the game and get you ready for conference play as business really begins to pick up at the Cats host Florida. Can they make it two in a row over the Gators after losing 31 straight.