The Kentucky football team has endured several humbling losses this season and the one against Mississippi State is particularly hard to swallow because of how close the Wildcats were. This week, Kentucky invites Alabama State in the Commonwealth Stadium in a game where the Wildcats should be favored for the first time this season since taking on Miami of Ohio. While Alabama State is an FCS school, many of their players of transferred from Division I programs and they presented unique challenge for Kentucky as the young Wildcats will have to take on a team more focused on the run than any that they have played so far this season.
When Kentucky has the ball:
The offense should finally get a break after playing some of the top defenses in the country. While Alabama State is formidable against the run, they’re very susceptible to passing attacks. In fact, the hornets are giving up 285+ yards per game to the air. This presents Kentucky with an opportunity to try to bolster the passing game and figure out the direction of this offense will head for the remainder of the season and possibly even into next year. Even in the event that the passing game is not effective, Alabama State has yet to take on a team with lineman is big and strong as Kentucky’s are, so the running game may still work. This contest also presents an opportunity for the staff to get creative and try some younger players or guys that do not get as many snaps in SEC play.
When Alabama State has the ball:
Alabama State is a very simple team. They will run the ball down your throat, followed by running the ball more, and will finally finish up with another runner two to close the game. When you finally think there’s no way they could possibly run anymore, they will throw in a play action pass to catch you off guard. It doesn’t get much simpler than that. Kentucky will present the biggest and strongest defense that the hornets have played this year so it’s hard to say how effective their rushing attack will be against the Wildcats this weekend. If Kentucky can force Alabama state to throw the football, the game could get out of hand quickly as this would certainly not be the hornets strong suit.
#1 – Isaiah Crowell – RB
It wasn’t so long ago that Crowell was the number 1 running back recruit in the country. The former Georgia Bulldog is tearing up the opposition this season to the tune of 104 yards a game rushing. Simply put, Kentucky must stop the run to win.
#22 – Malcolm Cyrus – RB
While Crowell has name recognition, Cyrus is the equally talented “other” back at Alabama State. He is averaging 92.5 rushing yards per game himself and can gash defenses just as easily as Crowell can.