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Early Kentucky Football Preview: Youngstown State

Youngstown is coming to the Bluegrass.

NCAA FOOTBALL: SEP 10 Youngstown State at West Virginia Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Greetings, BBN!

As we wait for the start of the 2022 Kentucky Wildcats football season, now’s a great time to look at the upcoming schedule and scout the opponents. This week we look at Week 3 as Kentucky takes on...Youngstown State? Who’s that? We’re about to find out:

Youngstown State

When: September 17th, 12:00 SEC Network

Where: Kroger Field

All-Time Series: First Meeting

Every season, the FBS teams are allowed to play an FCS squad to soften their schedule a bit and give that team a large check to help out their athletic department—a win-win situation.

Of course, that means that each year when Kentucky plays their FCS team we all are like, “Who are the Youngstown State Penguins?” and watch the ‘Cats win by 40 in a half-empty Kroger Field. I’d advise readers to pause for a minute and remember what happened against the last FCS team UK played though before writing this one off and skipping the tailgate...

With just over 10 minutes remaining in the 4th quarter, Kentucky trailed the Chattanooga Mocs by two in a game that everyone expected the ‘Cats to win by at least 35. After all, this was the FCS “guarantee game”, right?

Not to Chattanooga. Levis threw a 31-yard touchdown pass to Izayah Cummings to get the lead back, but a few minutes later the Mocs got right back into Wildcat territory and were looking to take the lead right back with a touchdown of their own.

If Tyrell Ajian hadn’t intercepted the next pass and run it back for a 95-yard pick-six, I think in all likelihood Kentucky would have lost that game and had their 2021 season go over a cliff in Week 3.

Forget the Citrus Bowl—they’d be lucky to get the Music City Bowl with that loss on their resume combined with probably one or two others from a demoralized team. So yes Youngstown State is an FCS team and yes they stink and went 3-7 last season, but this means the ‘Cats have everything to lose if they and their fans don’t show up and take care of business.

Fun facts about Youngstown State: Mark Stoops is from Youngstown, Ohio and has family connections to the school, which is likely why he scheduled this game back in 2018. The Penguins are also the only team in D1 called the Penguins, so kudos to them for picking a cool and unique name instead of just giving us another squad of Bulldogs or Tigers.

Prediction: ‘Cats win 55-10, remembering the Chattanooga scare and taking no chances.