by: Knox Bardeen (@knoxbardeen)
The Kentucky Wildcats play host to the Kent State Golden Flashes Saturday in hopes to bounce back from an opening-week loss to then-25th-ranked Louisville, 32-14. Kickoff for the Wildcats home opener is slated for 7:30 p.m. ET on CSS. Matt Stewart will call the game with Cole Cubelic providing color.
Saturdays game has been dubbed Heroes Day as the Kentucky athletic department has invited all active, reserve and veteran members of the armed forces along with police, firefighters and first responders to attend the game.
The Wildcats moved the ball well in their 18-point loss to Louisville. Sophomore quarterback Maxwell Smith completed 70 percent of his passes, throwing for 280 yards and two touchdowns.
CoShik Williams led the rushing attack for Kentucky, averaging 6.2 yards per carry with Raymond Sanders adding 38 more yards on just three carries. The Wildcats gained 109 yards on the groundtheir new yardage was reduced by several negative carrieson 19 carries.
Kentucky had loads of trouble stopping Louisville from scoringgiving up scores on five of Louisvilles seven possessions. Running backs Jeremy Wright and Senorise Perry annihilated Kentuckys run defense with 105 and 108 yards rushing, respectively.
The Wildcats will look to keep the offensive momentum going, even improving in areas, while shoring up their defense against Kent State.
Things to Watch
1. Kentucky has won its last six consecutive home openers and all six of its contests against Kent State.
2. The Wildcats could extend their home winning streak to three games with a win over the Golden Flashes. To end the season last year, Kentucky beat Ole Miss and Tennessee at Commonwealth Stadium.
3. Kentucky moved the chains well in a loss to Louisville last week. The teams 24 first downs were the most since they notched 26 against Tennessee on Nov. 27, 2010.
4. Kent State rushed the ball very well last week, led by junior Dri Archer who scored three touchdowns (one on a kickoff return) and carried the ball eight times for 54 yards. Trayion Durham also gained 54 yards for the Golden Flashes last week, his on 20 carries.
5. Kent State carries a 6 turnover margin into Saturdays game which ranks the Golden Flashes No. 1 in the country in that category. The defense forced four fumbles and picked off two passes.
6. Kent State wide receiver Eric Adeyemi began his career at Kentucky, lettering for the Wildcats in 2008 prior to transferring. Adeyemi played last week against Towson State, but did not catch a pass.
7. Kentucky played a total of 13 freshmen last week, including eight true freshmen, against Louisville. Offensive guard Zach West and wide receiver Daryl Collins (both redshirt freshmen) were the only two freshmen to start.
8. Quarterback Maxwell Smith missed breaking a Tim Couch record by one completion last week. His 35 completions were one shy of the Couch school record of 36 set in 1997. Smith spread his 35 completions around to 11 different receivers.
9. Tailbacks CoShik Williams and Raymond Sanders combined to average 7.7 yards per carry against Louisville.