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Kentucky, neighboring Eastern Kentucky face off for 1st time since 2017. EKU seeks first win over UK

uk football
Posted at 8:50 PM, Sep 07, 2023

Eastern Kentucky (0-1) at Kentucky (1-0), Saturday, 3 p.m. ET (SEC)

Line: Kentucky by 35, according to FanDuel Sportsbook..

Series: Kentucky leads 5-0.

WHAT’S AT STAKE

Eastern Kentucky seeks a .500 record after losing the opener 66-13 at new Big 12 member Cincinnati. Kentucky, with the rugged SEC schedule looming, seeks its third consecutive 2-0 start after routing Ball State 44-14.

KEY MATCHUP

EKU’s offense vs. Kentucky’s defense. The Colonels managed 302 yards against Cincinnati but feature one of the FCS’ top attacks, led by quarterback Parker McKinney. They will face a Wildcats defense that forced two fumbles leading to 10 points, including Jalen Geiger’s 69-yard return for a TD. They also recorded three sacks, eight tackles for loss and blocked a field goal attempt.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Eastern Kentucky: QB Parker McKinney owns multiple school passing records including 9,895 yards with 75 touchdowns on 1,324 attempts. He threw for just 177 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions against the Bearcats but ranked in the top five in several FCS passing categories last season and averaged nearly 330 yards per game.

Kentucky: LB Trevin Wallace tied a career high last week with 12 tackles, including two loss and a half sack. His initial hit on a Ball State receiver forced the fumble that Geiger returned for the touchdown. He was named Southeastern Conference defensive player of the week.

FACTS AND FIGURES

The teams are meeting for the first time since Kentucky won 27-16 in 2017. ... EKU seeks its eighth victory over an FBS school and first over consecutive seasons since 1979-80. ... The Colonels were picked to win the inaugural United Athletic Conference title by league coaches. ... Kentucky RB Ray Davis rushed 14 times for 111 yards and TDs of 2 and 30 yards in his debut. ... QB Devin Leary surpassed 7,000 career yards passing after completing 18 of 31 passes for 241 and a TD. ... Sophomore transfer Dylan Ray is listed to start at left guard in place of sixth-year senior Kenneth Horsey, who is out several weeks with a leg injury sustained against Ball State. ... EKU assistants Maxwell Smith (quarterbacks) and C.J. Conrad (tight ends) played at Kentucky under coach Mark Stoops.