Toledo Rockets at Kentucky Wildcats
- Date: Saturday, August 31
- Game Time: Noon EST
- Location: Kroger Field in Lexington, Kentucky
- TV Channel: SEC Network
- Radio: Tom Leach and Jeff Piecoro will have the UK radio network call on 630 AM and 98.1 FM in Lexington.
- Online radio: TuneIn broadcast or UKAthletics.com.
- Online Stream: WatchESPN
- Weekend Weather Report
- Odds: Kentucky is a 13.5-point favorite
- Replay: WatchESPN
- Rosters: UK | Toledo
- Score Predictions: Team Rankings has Kentucky winning 37-25. numberFire is going with a 35-21 victory for the Wildcats.
Football has returned to the Bluegrass, as it is officially game week in Lexington.
The Kentucky Wildcats, fresh off a 10-win season last fall, will kick off their 2019 campaign at home against the Toledo Rockets. Though head coach Mark Stoops and his coaching staff saw a heavy roster turnover on the defensive side of the football, there’s expectations of second-year starting quarterback Terry Wilson and the offense to make up lost ground.
On Saturday, Wilson and his fellow Wildcats will enter Kroger Field as two-score favorites with ESPN’s Football Power Index predicting a 85% win probability for Kentucky. Toledo finished their season last year with a 7-6 record, falling short of a bowl victory in the Bahamas Bowl.
Toledo, who was picked to win the MAC West Division, returns 13 starters from last year’s 7-6 team. Among the top returning veterans on the offense are All-MAC senior tight end Reggie Gilliam, senior quarterback Mitchell Guadagni, and an experienced running back in Bryant Koback, who actually spent a year at Kentucky in 2017 before transferring back to Ohio to be close to home.
In 2018, Koback led Toledo and was fifth in the MAC with 917 yards on 153 carries, an average of 6.0 yards per carry. He also had a team-best 14 rushing touchdowns.
On defense, nine players with at least 30 tackles are back, led by senior safety Kahlil Robinson, senior linebacker Jordan Fisher, senior safety DeDarallo Blue, and sophomore defensive end Jamal Hines.
Leading the way for Toledo is head coach Jason Candle. In three seasons at Toledo, Candle’s record is 28-13. The Rockets have earned a bowl game berth in each of those years.
Toledo and Kentucky have never played in football, but they will face off four times within the next 10 years. The two schools recently signed an agreement to play three more games after this one.
The Rockets are no strangers to winning, as they are one of nine FBS teams that have had a winning record over the past nine years (83-37 since 2010). The Rockets were bowl eligible in 2018, the ninth consecutive season they’ve been postseason eligible.
While Toledo is a respectable opponent, the Wildcats should get this win at home and start their season 1-0, heading into an even more favorable Week 2 matchup with Eastern Michigan before they host the Florida Gators in Week 3.
Here’s what you need to know to follow Kentucky’s 2019 opener:
- Kelvin Joseph Enrolls at Kentucky
- Kentucky Football 2019: Everything You Need to Know
- Kentucky vs. Florida is Sold Out
- Terry Wilson Will Wear Custom Jared Lorenzen Cleats
- Logan Stenberg Ready to Bring a Mean Streak to Kentucky’s Offensive Line
- DeAndre Square Primed for Bigger Role in Kentucky’s Defense
- Phil Hoskins OUT for First Two Games
Also, be sure to listen in to the ESPN 680 postgame show as our own James Streble recaps the game:
Follow the leader, ESPN Louisville.— ESPN Louisville (@ESPN680) May 24, 2019
- ESPN 680 (Louisville) | 105.7 FM (Frankfort)
- ESPN Louisville app | ESPN app | TuneIn
- Listen: https://t.co/JRjOoYeaBX pic.twitter.com/kqo5tDvwZl