LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Last week, Kentucky's visit to Florida was the Game of the Week in college football, and the Wildcats put on a show.

They thundered into Gainesville and dominated the Gators, something that Utah, an alleged national championship contender, failed to do a week earlier.

They dispatched the 12th-ranked Gators, 26-16, on ESPN, resulting in a string of praise for coach Mark Stoops for more than simply overtaking Bear Bryant with 61 victories as the program's all-time winningest coach.

This week, Kentucky will welcome Youngstown State to Kroger Field for a noon game that will not be the Game of the Week in college football. It will air on the SEC Network.

It should be a game for the Wildcats to take early control and allow Stoops to rest his best players and take extended looks at the second- and third-teamers.

Youngstown State is an FCS program that competes in the Missouri Valley against Bobby Petrino and Missouri State. They started their season with back-to-back victories over Duquesne and Dayton. Their university president is Jim Tressel, the guy who won a national championship at Ohio State. (Although Tressel will retire in February.)

Here are three things to know for game week:


The Wildcats jumped from No. 20 to No. 9 in the Associated Press college football poll Sunday. Part of that is because five teams ranked ahead of them lost. The biggest part of the climb is the Wildcats beat the No. 12 team in front of nearly 90,000 of their fans.

This week, Kentucky won't earn any style points. But how many of the eight teams ranked ahead of UK are vulnerable?

Don't get your hopes up. All eight teams ranked ahead of the Wildcats are favored by double digits. And the seven teams playing FCS opponents are favored by an average of 29.8 points.

Fresno State at USC or Oklahoma at Nebraska are the only two worth charting, unless you believe that Shane Beamer has South Carolina ready to topple No. 1 Georgia.

Me, neither.


Youngstown State has a proud football pedigree. Tressel won four national titles there from 1991-97, which resulted his ascension to the head coach at Ohio State.

But the Penguins did not remain a similar force after Tressel headed to Columbus in 2000. Over the last two decades, they are only made the playoffs twice: in 2006 and 2016, losing to James Madison in the title game six years ago.

Although Youngstown is unbeaten, the Penguins are unranked in the latest FCS poll, earning four votes.

In its last three games against Power 5 opponents, Youngstown lost to Michigan State, 42-14, last season; lost to West Virginia, 52-17, in 2018 and lost to Pittsburgh, 28-21, in 2017.

Former Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini led the Penguins in 2017 and 2018. Currently, Youngstown is led by Doug Phillips, who was a high school principal and administrator from 2008-15.


Youngstown means everything to Stoops. It's his hometown. It is where he played for his father, Ron, at Cardinal Mooney High School. It is also the hometown of UK associate head coach Vince Marrow, another Cardinal Mooney product who played for Youngstown State.

Under Stoops and Marrow, the Wildcats have feasted on recruits from Ohio, including guys like Lynn Bowden, another Youngstown product.

The 2022 Wildcats have 20 players from Ohio, including tight end Brenden Bates, defensive back Carrington Valentine, safety Tyrell Ajian, kicker Matt Ruffolo and punter Colin Goodfellow.

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