Preview: Kentucky vs. Eastern Michigan



From UK Athletics...

Kentucky takes one week away from the rigors of Southeastern Conference play and will host Eastern Michigan as it looks to get back on the winning track this Saturday. It is the Wildcats' last non-conference game until Louisville comes to Lexington in the regular season finale on Nov. 25.

Both the Wildcats and Eagles will be looking to ease the disappointment of their previous games. UK lost 28-27 to Florida as a 13-point fourth quarter lead slipped away, while the Eagles dropped a double-overtime decision in their first Mid-American Conference tilt of the season.

The game will kick off at 4 p.m. ET at Kroger Field and air on the SEC Network.

Sunday was a generally terrible day for Mark Stoops.

Forced to relive the particulars of an excruciating loss to Florida in film review, misery had company in the Joe Craft Football Training Facility as the Kentucky coaching staff began to turn the page to Eastern Michigan.

"It was a long 24 hours, that's for sure," Stoops said.

The time came with self-reflection for Stoops, which was probably the most difficult thing. He had to continually face the reality that had he done one or two things just a little differently, UK very well might have won and moved to 4-0.

"There's thing that we all can do better, starting with myself, that hurt, that we have to accept responsibility for, that we have to do better," Stoops said. "It starts with me."

Stoops was frank in taking responsibility for mistakes made on Saturday, namely the two uncovered Gator receivers who scored touchdowns. Though in 30 years of coaching football he has never had a team fall victim to that mistake, he's adjusting by assigning two people on his staff to watch the perimeter of the field every play...Read More

Scouting Eastern Michigan

• Eastern Michigan head coach Chris Creighton has the Eagles on the right trajectory since his arrival in 2014. The Eagles went 2-10 his first season and 1-11 in his second before winning seven games and earning an invite to the Bahamas Bowl last season.
• Creighton has been successful at each of his head coaching stops: He won two conference titles and advanced to the NAIA playoffs twice while at Ottawa (Kan.); won four conference titles and appeared in three Division III playoffs at Wabash; was twice co-champion of the Pioneer Football League (FCS) while at Drake.
• Last season, Creighton led the Eagles to their first bowl appearance in 29 years following one of EMU's most successful seasons in its 125-year history. The Eagles are continuously showing improvement as they continue to better their win total each year.
• Eastern Michigan is coming off a 2016 season that saw the Eagles go 7-6 overall, including 4-4 in the Mid-American Conference.
• The Eagles are currently 2-1 and ranked 5th in MAC West. One of the first two wins of this season included a 16-13 victory over Rutgers, which was the program's first win against a Power Five school in team history.
• Eastern Michigan's quarterback play has been solid so far in the 2017 season. Senior Brogan Roback is establishing himself as one of the top quarterbacks in the MAC.
• Senior wide receiver Sergio Bailey II has continued to display offensive consistency this season. Bailey had a big game against Rutgers, catching five passes 107 yards.
• Eastern Michigan's defense play has also been extremely dominant as they are allowing just 15.7 points a game.
• Eight defensive starters from the 2016 season have returned, including junior defensive back Brody Hoying and senior defensive back Jason Beck. Hoying is currently leading the team with 21 tackles for the 2017 season while Beck follows with 15. Last season Beck was second on the team in tackles with 104 to go along with 7.0 tackles for loss.

Series Record vs. EMU

• This is the first meeting between the two programs.
• The Wildcats are 29-7-1 all-time vs. current members of the Mid-American Conference:
Akron: 1-0
Ball State: 1-0
Bowling Green: 2-1
Central Michigan: 6-0
Kent State: 7-0
Miami (Ohio): 8-4-1
Ohio: 4-2
• UK's last meeting against a MAC opponent was in 2014 vs. Ohio. The Wildcats won at home on Sept. 6, 20-3.

A UK Win Would...

• Give the Cats their fi rst win over Eastern Michigan and ninth consecuO ve win over a MAC team, dating back to 2006.
• Give the Cats 11 wins in their past 16 regular season games.
• Give the Cats a 6-2 record in non-conference games the past two seasons.
• Give UK a 4-1 start to the season, it's best start since 4-1 in 2015.
• Improve UK's record at Kroger Field to 155-130-4 overall, including 18-14 under Mark Stoops.
• Be starO ng QB Stephen Johnson's 11th win since taking over in 2016, ninth as a starter and two in a relief role.
• Be the Cats' 18th win on the SEC Network since Mark Stoops took over as head coach (18-14).
• Make UK 3-0 in day games this season.

Texas Roadhouse Countdown to Kickoff Show

The Countdown to Kickoff show will air starting two hours prior to kickoff. Freddie Maggard will serve as the analyst on the Texas Roadhouse Countdown to Kickoff alongside host Christi Thomas. For home games, the show will air live from in front of Nutter Field House outside gate 1 of Kroger Field with special guests and giveaways. The set of the show is conveniently located near the Coke Fan Zone in Nutter Field House and the Cat Walk presented by Chevy.

For the first time, the Texas Roadhouse Countdown to Kickoff will go on the road and broadcast live from select Kroger locations in Kentucky.

Oct. 21 (Mississippi State) – 300 Brighton Park Boulevard, Frankfort
Nov. 11 (Vanderbilt) – 212 Kroger Way, Versailles
Nov. 18 (Georgia) – 3175 Beaumont Circle, Lexington

Predicting Kentucky's next five games

Highlights: Kentucky 23 - South Carolina 13

Kentucky Wildcats Basketball TV Schedule

2013-2014 Kentucky Basketball: The Greatest Story Ever Told

Video - HORSE with the Cats - Shai Gilgeous Alexander