LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — There is one Power Five team in America that scheduled Mid-American Conference team in back-to-back games to open the 2019 college football season.
That team is Kentucky.
After defeating Toledo, the predicted winner of the MAC’s East Division last Saturday, the Wildcats are matched against Eastern Michigan Saturday at Kroger Field. The Eagles are picked to finish fourth in the East.
Tom Lane and I will cover the game for WDRB and WDRB.com.
1.) Time: 7:30 p. m. Saturday, EDT
2.) Where to watch: SEC Network Alternative channel; Spectrum cable 518; DirecTV 611-1; Dish Network 596-599; U-Verse 1608-1609 (Mike Morgan; Hutson Mason; Taylor Davis)
3.) The Line: Kentucky by 15; Over: 53.
4.) Scouting Eastern Michigan: After 20 consecutive losing seasons, EMU celebrated its second winning season in the last three years in 2018 when the Eagles won at Purdue for one of seven regular-season victories. EMU lost its bowl game against Georgia Southern, 23-21, but opened the 2019 season with a 30-23 victory at Coastal Carolina.
EMU quarterback Mike Glass III leads the nation in completion percentage after a 20 for 22 performance in the opener. The Eagles were solid against the run against Coastal Carolina, allowing only 74 yards on 30 attempts against their Sun Belt opponent.
On the flip side, EMU’s offense did not impress against Coastal, managing only 291 yards, 103 on the ground.
5.) Scouting Kentucky: The Wildcats exited week one ranking seventh in the Southeastern Conference in total offense and eighth in total defense.
The run defense must improve from the 4.64 yards that Toledo averaged on 39 carries, and Kentucky also needs to improve its offensive average of 4.51 yards per rushing attempt. A year ago the Wildcats averaged better than 4.8 yards per rushing attempt while allowing only 4.27 yards per attempt.
6.) Spotlight Player: All eyes will remain on UK quarterback Terry Wilson, who completed better than 73 percent of his throws with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Wilson also averaged 9.5 yards per passing attempt. Those were solid upgrades from last season when Wilson completed 67.2 percent of his throws while averaging 7 yards per attempts with 11 touchdowns and 8 interceptions.
7.) Sideline storyline: Tennessee (Georgia State), Missouri (Wyoming) and South Carolina (North Carolina) all lost their season openers, stirring speculation that Kentucky will not take a step back in the SEC East this season as nearly every pre-season magazine predicted.
With Florida coming to Lexington Sept. 14, the Wildcats can position themselves for another run at the top of the division behind favored Georgia. (Florida will try to move to 2-0 against Tennessee-Martin in Gainesville Saturday night.)
8.) Fan tips: Saturday is Hero’s Day at Kroger Field. UK will honor all active and reserve members of the armed forces as well as police, firefighters and first responders.
10.) Picks: Rick Bozich, UK 31-17; Eric Crawford, 31-14.
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