With eight full quarters now under their belts, you would have hoped that your Kentucky Wildcats were looking tuned up and firing on all cylinders.
Despite the improved second-half performance in a 28-17 victory over Eastern Kentucky, that just hasn’t been the case.
Sloppy play littered with penalties and inconsistent execution on both sides of the all has plagued this team so far through two games.
But 2-0 is 2-0, and Mark Stoops and his team aim to make it three in a row this coming Saturday.
Next up for Kentucky will be the Zips of Akron on Saturday, September 16th.
The game will kick off from Kroger Field at 7:30 pm ET and televised on ESPNU, which is great to see after the online-only broadcast this past Saturday.
Switching up the game time in week three allows Kentucky to play under the lights and, in my opinion, will translate to better play.
It gets rocking inside Kroger Field at night, especially the last few seasons, so with an inferior opponent, I’m banking on the Cats turning it up in front of the home crowd on Saturday night.
The forecast is calling for some terrific football weather with a high temp of 80 and clear skies. By kickoff, it should be euphoric outside, so if you’re not going to the game, maybe get a plan in place to watch outside.
The Zips, an incredible name by the way, are 1-1 coming off a win against Morgan State in a game that took a fourth-quarter scoop-and-score with under a minute to play to prevail 24-21.
Oddly enough, Akron’s first game of the season against Temple ended with the same score of 24-21, only this time, the Zips were on the losing end.
Hopefully, there’s much more than three points of separation when they line up against Kentucky because, as of now, ESPN’s matchup predictor favors UK with a whopping 95.1%.
Turnovers could be the key in this one.
Akron was giving the ball back to their opponent on Saturday like it was the objective of the game. Five in total.
Zips quarterback Jeff Undercuffler Jr. chucked three interceptions that included a red zone pick in the final minutes of their game against Morgan State. The untimely turnover appeared to effectively end the game and any chance at winning the contest.
Had it not been for the defensive score, things would look quite different for head coach Joe Moorhead, who is now in his 26th year coaching, his second with Akron.
“This is a game where you ride a lot of emotions, and you go from the 0-2 talk to the 1-1 talk. I obviously prefer the 1-1 talk.” Moorhead told reporters on Saturday.
The former Mississippi State head man will return to the SEC this week for a showdown with Kentucky which surely will pack a better punch than that of Morgan State.
The most obvious thing to watch for UK will be the continued development of Devin Leary, who had an up and down performance in Game 2, but finished with a strong stat line of just under 300 yards, four touchdowns, and one interception off a batted pass at the line of scrimmage.
Leary was misfiring at times but really seemed to settle down later in the game. That’s hopefully a sign he’s now locked in and ready to lead this offense.
Game: Akron Zips at Kentucky Wildcats
Location: Kroger Field
Time: 7:30 pm ET on September 16th
TV Channel: ESPNU
Radio: UK Sports Network
Replay: WatchESPN and SEC Network (check local listings).
Early Odds: DraftKings Sportsbook has Kentucky at -25 as of Sunday evening. ESPN’s matchup predictor gives Kentucky a 95.1 chance of achieving victory.
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.