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Kentucky Wildcats Football vs EKU Colonels Primer

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What you need to know and more about the Wildcats’ home opener.

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Kentucky comes off its first win of the season and a 1-0 start to take on Eastern Kentucky for the first home game of the season.

The Cats are 4-0 all-time against EKU, as the competitors out of the Ohio Valley Conference have been an opponent that UK has generally been able to handle. But not always as easily as expected; the last meeting between the two saw Kentucky come back from a 14-point deficit to win 34-27 in overtime.

After last week, we’re hoping to see less of the Wildcat and better use of good field position. A 2-0 start would be one heck of a way to build on the success of last season.

Game: EKU Colonels (0-1) at Kentucky Wildcats (1-0)

Time: Noon EST, Saturday, Sept. 9

Where: Commonwealth Stadium Kroger Field in Lexington, Kentucky.

TV: SEC Network

Radio: Tom Leach (play-by-play), Jeff Piecoro (analyst) and Dick Gabriel (sideline) will have the UK radio network call on 630 AM and 98.1 FM in Lexington, as well as 840 AM in Louisville.

Series: Kentucky leads 4-0.

Last meeting: Kentucky 34, EKU 27 in overtime in 2015.

Weather: 67° with winds of 6 MPH. Click here for more details & forecast.

Kentucky Wildcats

  • Kentucky has won eight of its last 11 regular season games, and will be going for nine of 12 this week.
  • It would be the first time Kentucky has been 9-3 in a stretch of 12 games since 2007.
  • This is the second time in school history that Kentucky won their regular season finale in a true road game then won their regular season opener in a true road game in the following season (1964 and 1965).
  • Kentucky is 4-0 all-time against EKU and 9-0 all-time vs teams from the Ohio
  • Valley Conference.
  • Last time the two met, it took overtime for Kentucky to win. They came back from a 14-point deficit to win 34-27.
  • Special teams coordinator Dean Hood is a former head coach at EKU. Coaching from 2008-15, Hood won the Ohio Valley Conference twice.
  • Drew Barker and EKU wide receiver/UK transfer Cameron Fogle are still roommates in Lexington.
  • Seven true freshman played against Southern Miss last week: Lynn Bowden, Josh Paschal, Quinton Bohanna, Josh Ali, Isaiah Epps, Clevan Thomas and Cedric Dort.
  • Stephen Johnson is looking for his eighth win as starting quarterback of the Cats.
  • Garrett Johnson is just 89 receiving yards away from passing Randall Cobb for seventh on Kentucky’s all-time receiving list.
  • The duo of Josh Allen and Denzil Ware (aka Blitz Bros.) comprises one of the SEC’s top pass rushing pairs, having totaled 132 total tackles, 20.5 tackles for loss, 12.5 sacks, eight quarterback hurries and four forced fumbles last season.
  • Ware was named the SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week after recording two tackles, a tackle for loss, a sack, a forced fumble and two fumble recoveries, including a scoop and score at Southern Miss.

EKU Colonels

  • EKU’s last game came against another in-state rival, as they fell to the WKU Hilltoppers, 31-17.
  • EKU went 3-8 last season, 2-6 in the OVC.
  • EKU is returning its best running back from last year, Ethan Thomas, who ran for 385 yards and averaged 4.1 yards per carry.
  • Returning defensive end Aaron Patrick tallied 53 tackles, 10 for loss, and seven sacks last season.
  • EKU returns five starters on offense and seven on defense from last season’s team.
  • Tim Boyle became the first EKU quarterback to eclipse the 300-yard mark in their first game as a Colonel. The redshirt senior completed 63 percent of his passes (29-of-46) for 320 yards and tossed two touchdown passes at Western Kentucky.
  • Senior wide receiver Ryan Markush totaled a career-best 107 yards at Western Kentucky.
  • The Colonels limited a WKU offense that averaged 46 points and 523 yards in 2016 to 31 points and 364 yards in the season opener.
  • EKU registered four sacks against Western Kentucky while allowing just one.
  • EKU has played well against FBS teams in recent years. In addition to beating Miami (Ohio) in 2014, the Colonels have lost close games at Indiana, Kansas State and at Kentucky in overtime. Last season, EKU trailed Purdue by just 10 points in the fourth quarter.