Bowl eligibility will be on the line this weekend when the Kentucky Wildcats host FCS opponent Austin Peay.
Not only will the 5-5 Cats be searching for their sixth win, which would clinch a postseason berth for the first time since 2010, but this game will also see 14 players honored during a special “Senior Day” pregame ceremony at Commonwealth Stadium.
Many of these players are part of the first signing class UK landed under Mark Stoops, who was hired as the school’s head coach in 2013. These seniors have helped UK slowly improve in all four years of Stoops’ tenure, and he’s very thankful for the work they’ve done to make UK a good program again.
“The seniors have been very solid. They are great young men to work with. They have been very good leaders,” Stoops said this week. “Again, I said it during the tough times this season, I am not for sure we would have grown if we didn’t have strong seniors. There are not very many of them, but they are good players and they mean a lot to me and this program.”
The list of seniors who will be honored this weekend include:
Will Thomas Collins, FB, Jackson, Ky.
Tanner Fink, TE/FB, Louisville, Ky.
J.D. Harmon, CB, Paducah, Ky.
Jojo Kemp, RB, DeLand, Fla.
Blake McClain, DB, Winter Park, Fla.
Marcus McWilson, S, Youngstown, Ohio
Courtney Miggins, DE, Lithonia, Ga.
Zach Myers, C, Miamisburg, Ohio
Ryan Timmons, WR, Frankfort, Ky.
Jon Toth, C, Indianapolis, Ind.
Zane Williams, DT, Lexington, Ky.
Juniors Forgoing Senior Season
Alex Montgomery, WR, Weston, Fla.
Dylan Greenberg, OG, Tucson, Ariz.
Ramsey Meyers, OG, Orange Park, Fla.
Offensively, the Wildcats continue to pound the rock at a historic pace and now rank 17th nationally in rushing yards per game with 238.5 per contest. UK is averaging 274.4 rushing yards over its past eight games, during which it is 5-3.
Against Tennessee last week, UK rushed for 443 yards, second-most in a single game in school history. That is also is the most ever for the Wildcats against an SEC opponent.
The game marked the first time in school history that five Wildcats have rushed for at least 70 yards in the same game. UK also amassed 635 yards total offense against the Vols, seventh-most in a single game in school history.
True freshman running back Benny Snell currently has 854 rushing yards this season, which already is the second most ever by a freshman in a season for UK. Moe Williams had 928 rushing yards as a freshman in 1993.
Junior running back Boom Williams enters this game now with 2,366 career rushing yards, seventh on Kentucky’s career rushing list.
Williams (1,025) and Snell (854) have 1,879 combined rushing yards this season. The duo needs just one yard to break the school-record for combined rushing yards by a pair of players, set by between Sonny Collins and Mike Fanuzzi in 1974.
I bring up all of these stats because we should expect some similar numbers vs Autin Peay this week. The Governors are 0-10 overall and 0-8 in the OVC after a 67-30 loss to 3-7 Eastern Kentucky last week.
Austin Peay has allowed 2,555 net rushing yards this season, an average of 255.5 per game to go with 33 rushing scores. The Govs have also been outscored by an average margin of 47-25, including four losses of 28-plus points. The only other D-I team they’ve played was Troy, who whipped them by a 57-17 margin.
You get the idea. This is a game UK should not only win easy, but get everyone on the roster who is healthy and dressed some playing time.
Here is everything you’ll need to watch and follow UK vs Austin Peay.
Austin Peay Governors (0-10, 0-8 in OVC) at Kentucky Wildcats (5-5, 4-4 in SEC)
When: Saturday, Nov. 19
Game Time: 4:30 p.m.
Where: Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington, Kentucky
TV: SEC Network
Announcers: Mike Morgan and Kevin Weidl will be on the call.
Online Stream: Watch ESPN
Radio: UK Sports Network
Weather: Game time weather is expected to be cloudy and low-mid 40s. It is supposed to rain earlier in the day, but no rain is currently expected during the game.
Series: First Meeting
Last meeting: Georgia won 27-3 on Nov. 7, 2015, in Athens
Odds: UK enters this game as a 46-point favorite.
Useless Fact to Know: Austin Peay's official website it letsgopeay.com. Well played Governors. Well played.
My Prediction: Kentucky 55, Austin Peay 16