Kentucky Looks for 12th Straight Non-SEC Win in Season Opener
Kentucky takes Kroger Field for one of the most anticipated seasons in recent memory on Saturday, hosting ULM in the 2021 opener. Game time is noon EDT and it will be televised on the SEC Network.
The Wildcats will unveil a new offense under the guidance of coordinator Liam Coen, who came to Lexington after a successful tenure on the staff of the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams. With a deep, veteran offensive line bookended by All-American Darian Kinnard and LSU transfer Dare Rosenthal, the power running of Chris Rodriguez Jr. and a wide receiver corps that features Josh Ali and Wan’Dale Robinson, the Cats are expected to be an explosive group.
Defensively, the Cats will be mixing a youth movement with productive seniors Yusuf Corker, Marquan McCall, Josh Paschal, DeAndre Square and others. The unit has continued to show impressive improvement in recent seasons and is looking to take the next step in its development.
|Kentucky vs. Louisiana-Monroe|
|Sat., Sept. 4 – 12:00 p.m. ET
Game Notes: UK | ULM
Digital Gameday Program
|18.6||Kickoff returns (avg)||18.1|
|10.3||Punt returns (avg)||5.0|
|31:04||Time of possession/game||27:16|
|36.7%||Third down conversion||25.6%|
|47.1%||Fourth down conversion||51.5%|
|380.7||Total yards allowed/game||464.3|
|156.1||Rush yards allowed/game||249.0|
|224.6||Pass yards allowed/game||215.3|
Kroger Field also will look different as it returns to 100 percent capacity after the 2020 campaign saw limited attendance because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cat Scratches: Coes Hopes Cats’ Offense Can ‘Be Kentucky’ on Saturday
When Kentucky takes the field on Saturday, the Cats’ offense will be under the direction of new offensive coordinator Liam Coen. Coming from the Los Angeles Rams, Coen brings with him an offense that can feature the passing game.
Coen knows that throwing the ball makes everyone, even him, happy.
“Obviously, everybody wants to see the forward pass down the field,” Coen said. “I totally understand that and I’d like to see that as well.”
But he has also been in Lexington long enough to know that running the ball is part of Kentucky’s identity.
“Really, we’re going into this game with our philosophy of being physical in the run game, trying to work our play action, keepers and our base pass game. I’ve got to believe that we’re going to try to be physical and run the ball and be Kentucky. That’s what we need to be in order to win games in the SEC.”…Read More
Series vs. ULM
• Kentucky leads the all-time series 4-1.
• UK won, 48-14, in Lexington on Oct. 11, 2014 the last time the teams met.
• ULM won the first meeting in 1993 and the Cats have claimed the next four, including three in the past 15 seasons (2006, 2009, 2014).
• UK is 6-2 all-time vs. teams from the current alignment of the Sun Belt Conference.
• The Cats have won six straight games against those teams.
• ULM joined the Sun Belt in 2006.
A UK Win Would …
• Give head coach Mark Stoops 50 career victories at UK, putting him just 10 wins shy of tying Paul “Bear” Bryant for the school’s all-time winning coach.
• Improve UK’s record to 89-37-5 in season openers, including 6-3 under coach Mark Stoops.
• Give UK its seventh consecutive win over a current member of the Sun Belt.
• Give Kentucky its 12th straight non-conference win.
• Give Kentucky its 8th straight non-conference win at Kroger Field.
• Improve UK’s overall record at Kroger Field to 162-133-4 (.549).
• Improve coach Mark Stoops’ record at home to 26-17 overall and 16-4 vs. non-SEC foes.
• Head coach Mark Stoops has 49 career victories at Kentucky, No. 2 on the school’s all-time list. Paul “Bear” Bryant is first with 60.
• Coach Stoops has 24 SEC wins, passing Paul Bryant for the second-most in school history. He needs one more to tie Fran Curci at No. 1 with 25.
• Coach Stoops now holds the record for most total home wins in school history (35).
• Junior RB Chris Rodriguez Jr. has 1,361 career rushing yards. He vaulted all the way to 27th place on the school’s all-time list. He needs nine yards to move up to No. 26 and 27 more yards to jump two spots and tie Tony Dixon at No. 25 (1,388).
• Senior WR Josh Ali has 846 receiving yards, needing 154 to become the 31st player in school history with 1,000 or more yards receiving. He also has 90 career receptions.