It’s finally gameday again and the Kentucky football team is ready to get the taste of last week’s loss out of their mouths. There is no better cure than to get back on the field and play. And hopefully win big. Unfortunately nothing that the Wildcats do tonight against Kent State will change the minds of many in the fan-base. A 70-0 rout would likely result in complaints that Joker Phillips schedules poorly or some other piddly thing. A team coming off of a tough loss is unpredictable, especially against a foe that should be overmatched, but here are some things to look for this evening:
- The defense figures to be much better than we saw last week. If for no other reason than the obvious talent gap and depth, UK’s defense won’t be allowing Kent State to run roughshod. Additionally the coaches have said that the main issue against Louisville was alignment and knowing the play-call, while embarrassing, this is correctable.
- The passing game should put up some nice numbers. Kent State’s starting cornerbacks are both under 5’9” tall and will be matching up with La’Rod King and new starter Aaron Boyd, who are both 6’4” tall. That means that the Golden Flashes corners will be giving up 7 inches to those 2 starters. Kentucky’s shortest wideout is sophomore Demarco Robinson who is listed as 5’10”. KSU won’t have a height advantage throughout the game.
- Roosevelt Nix will likely get a sack. Nix is the Golden Flashes all-everything defender who will line up as a defensive lineman and linebacker. He is short too but is a high-motor passrusher who will likely squeak through unless he gets extra attention.
- Kent State’s offense will likely score on one big play that will have you shaking your head. It’s not necessarily a knock on the Wildcats defense, Kent State has a couple of players with serious speed in RB Dri Archer and former UK WR Eric Adeyemi. Don’t be surprised if they try to get Archer loose in space and he breaks one. The rest of their offense isn’t much to speak of, quarterback Spencer Keith is erratic and has a little scramble ability but isn’t a big threat.
- A lot of freshmen will play for the blue team. Coach Phillips confirmed that they will use this game to get a good look at some of their young guys this week after some veterans disappointed in Week 1. On offense expect to see a heavy dose of RB Dy’Shawn Mobley, who semi-famously complained after he only got 3 snaps last week. Also look for WR Demarcus Sweat to play some more offense after playing special teams last week. Sweat could be the guy who gets fans on their feet tonight. On defense look for linebackers Khalid Henderson and Pancho Thomas to rotate in. Henderson was a highly sought-after recruit and could draw the start, Thomas is a thumper who is learning multiple LB positions but was ill yesterday according to his Twitter account. You probably won’t see any of the freshman defensive linemen, but several young DB’s should play including JD Harmon, Fred Tiller, Cody Quinn & Daron Blaylock. It can’t be stressed enough that these are kids who were in high school last year, so there will be some struggles, don’t get down on a kid who really shouldn’t even be on the field if he doesn’t light the world on fire.
- Attendance will be bad. Most are expecting a crowd under 50k and that’s quite possible. As our football editor Kyle pointed out on this week’ podcast, Kentucky fans are as quick to jump ship as they are to jump on a bandwagon and the UL loss sent some scurrying. For some reason not attending games has become the cool thing to do and certain sites keep fanning those flames. But the REAL Kentucky football fans will be in attendance if life allows it and the crowd around may be more enjoyable than previously.