After overcoming the Gators in dramatic fashion, Kentucky State is now preparing to host Youngstown State on Saturday at the start of the afternoon at Kruger Stadium. The game can be seen on the SEC network.
Mark Stoops and Vince Marrow both clearly have strong ties to the Youngstown area, so it’s no surprise to see the Penguins invited to Lexington for a Power 5 opportunity.
The obvious danger here for Kentucky is the real threat of a failed game after their emotional victory in front of 90,000 people just days ago in Gainesville.
But the fact that Mark Stubbs and his coaching staff are very familiar with Youngstown – I’d be very surprised if the cats weren’t even close to 100% ready to play on Saturday.
During a radio appearance on WLAP’s Sunday Morning Sports Talk, Vince Marrow noted the large amount of tickets he and coach Stubbs had to produce for their family and friends. So even though Youngstown penguins are coming to Lexington, it will be a repatriation of sorts for many UK employees.
Saturday’s game will be the first time in a long time since the Cats have occupied the court that is ranked among the top 10 teams in America.
We’ve all seen the weird results of college football games just two weeks into the season so the Cats are just focusing on two wins before traveling to Oxford would be the name of the game if you’re a Kentucky fan.
Youngstown State also finds itself undefeated in Week Three with a convincing win over Duquesne and Dayton.
The Penguins scored 80 points per season while conceding only 30 points in total.
Led by sophomore quarterback Dmitrik Crenshaw, Youngstown State’s attack proved highly effective through eight quarters of play. While Crenshaw completes only 54% of his passes, he manages to throw five touchdowns while not counting any interceptions. It is actually Scholarship Offers from Kentucky, Louisville, Cincinnati, Indiana, and Boston College as a high school employee before signing with the Penguins.
Jalil McLaughlin’s back run totaled 332 yards and four touchdowns on just 33 buggies, which equates to more than 10 yards per touch. He averages more than 20 yards per catch in three receptions this season, including one touchdown.
McLaughlin scored 22 touchdowns during his Youngstown State career and will definitely be looking to make an impact against the SEC.
The reception center appears to be taking an approach by the committee but features former Wildcat Bryce Oliver, who has had 10 assists for 121 yards and two touchdowns so far this season. He played in Kentucky from 2018-20 before moving to the FCS ranks.
Oliver is one of five different penguins that got a landing pass this year.
We’ll see if the Kentucky defense can pick up where they left off in the swamp as they stole the Gators’ dignity in the second half.
Offensively, Rich Scangarillo clearly still has some kinks to work with his unit, but all signs point to a positive trajectory against Florida.
The biggest area to watch is the offensive line game. With 120 minutes of football to tune in before you get it All-Sec caliber running back Chris Rodriquez Jr. in the barnit would be important to get the big blue wall back into shape.
Will Levis will be eliminated so little, if any, in the next two games, it would be a welcome sight for the Big Blue Nation.
Nobody gives Youngstown too many chances in this. ESPN’s Match Predictor has a UKa chance of winning by an overwhelming 97.7%. But as we’ve seen before, Kentucky has had some unexpected struggles against FCS foes, the most recent of which was a tough escape last year from Chattanooga.
Hopefully those previous struggles with the FCS teams will help keep Kentucky focused and ready to go out for four quarters on Saturday.
game time: 12:00 PM ET on September 17th
Site: Kruger Field – Lexington, Kentucky
TV channelSEC . network
Announcers: Dave Neal, Deuce McAllister, Andrea Carter
radio: Tom Leach and Jeff Pekoro will have a UK Radio Network call at 6:30 AM and 98.1 FM in Lexington and on UK Sports Network.
replay: WatchESPN and SEC network (check local listings for reboot schedule).
weather: Few clouds from time to time but mostly sunny. High around 81F. SSW winds at 5 to 10 mph, Per Weather.com.