UK FOOTBALL | 3 keys to Kentucky vs. EKU
10/03/2015 03:51 PM
LEXINGTON — Let’s be honest: This game should be over by halftime, if not sooner.
The Kentucky Wildcats (3-1) and Eastern Kentucky Colonels (2-1) face off for the first time since 2009 on Saturday at Commonwealth Stadium, and even though no team should ever underestimate any opponnent (see Michigan vs. Appalachian State in 2007 or Auburn vs. Jacksonville State this year), UK should have no problem running away from its in-state opponent on homecoming week.
The Colonels do have some electric playmakers on offense, namely senior star running back Dy’Shaw Mobley, an FCS All-American who played two seasons at Kentucky before transferring to EKU in 2013, but EKU lacks the necessary depth and defense to cage the Cats and pull off an upset victory.
With a bye week up next before Kentucky’s Thursday night showdown against Auburn on October 15, the Wildcats need to take an early lead, keep their foot on the gas, and rest starters on the bench in the second half.
Here are the three keys to UK getting it done:
1. Keep It Clean, No Fighting
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, in a cave, with no internet access for the past nine months, you know UK and EKU had a pair of off-the-field altercations during the offseason, not to mention several former Kentucky players and recruits now on the Colonels’ roster who will be playing with something to prove against their former team.
The Wildcats need to walk the walk, not talk the talk, on Saturday and avoid any unnecessary fighting or suspensions in what should be a comfortable victory.
2. Stay Healthy, No Injuries
Along a similar line as no fighting, the Wildcats need to avoid any injuries in a game that should provide plenty of opportunities for starters to rest and backup players to take the field.
Injuries can be unpredictable, especially in wet and rainy conditions like those expected to be around Commonwealth Stadium for the 7:30 p.m. ET kickoff. But if Kentucky can take a big lead early, it should be able to rest most of its starters for the second half and enter the bye week healthy and ready to prepare for Auburn.
3. Make Big Plays
And speaking of taking an early lead, UK needs to flex some muscle and connect on big plays.
The Kentucky offense has shown the ability to score in bunches this season, but has also shown the susceptibility to disappearing in the second half.
With junior running back Jojo Kemp getting his first start of the season, the Wildcats should establish the ground game early to set up play-action throws over the top and put the game away before halftime.
- SCORE PREDICTION: KENTUCKY 48, EASTERN KENTUCKY 10