Kentucky Seeks to Continue Momentum, Non-Conference Win Streak
Kentucky will look to extend its non-conference winning streak to 13 games and build upon the momentum created during an impressive 2-0 start when it hosts Chattanooga on Saturday at Kroger Field. Game time is noon EDT and it will stream on SECN+ and ESPN+.
The Wildcats’ new offense is 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, has piled up more than 500 total yards in each of the first two games of the season for the first time in school history and ranks 12th nationally. 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 showed the hallmarks of an explosive group.
Defensively, the Cats are mixing a youth movement with productive seniors Yusuf Corker, Marquan McCall, Josh Paschal, DeAndre Square and others. The unit ranks 11th nationally through two weeks and came up with several huge plays in the second half to stave off Missouri last week.
|Kentucky vs. Chattanooga|
|Sat., Sept. 18 – 12 p.m. ET
Game Notes: UK | UTC
Digital Gameday Program
TV: SEC Network Plus/ESPN Plus
|14.0||Kickoff returns (avg)||15.0|
|3.0||Punt returns (avg)||2.0|
|31:47||Time of possession/game||28:01|
|54.5%||Third down conversion||9.1%|
|00.0%||Fourth down conversion||00.0%|
|87.0||Total yards allowed/game||468.0|
|16.0||Rush yards allowed/game||167.0|
|71.0||Pass yards allowed/game||301.0|
Cat Scratches: Coen Looking for Balanced Offensive Effort, Ball Security
In Kentucky’s season-opening win over Louisiana-Monroe, the Cats showed an aerial attack not seen in the Bluegrass for many years. However, the architect of that onslaught, UK offensive coordinator Liam Coen, was not completely satisfied with his unit’s performance.
Yes, quarterback Will Levis threw for more than 300 yards. Yes, both Josh Ali and Wan’Dale Robinson had more than 100 yards receiving. But Coen wanted more.
His hopes were that, against Missouri, his team would be able to run the ball more effectively than they did against ULM.
“It was nice. Last week, I said we had to run the ball better,” Coen said. “That was obviously the focal point of the week.”
And it wasn’t only that the Cats were able to run the ball. It was how they ran the ball that pleased Coen…Read More
Series vs. Chattanooga
• This is the first meeting between the schools.
A UK Win Would…
• Give head coach Mark Stoops 52 career victories at UK, putting him just eight wins shy of tying Paul “Bear” Bryant for the school’s alltime winning coach.
• Give UK 13 consecutive non-conference wins.
• Move the Cats to 3-0 on the season for the third time in Stoops’ tenure (2017, 2018).
• Give UK a fifth straight win over opponents from the state of Tennessee and sixth in the past seven games.
• Improve UK’s overall record at Kroger Field to 173-137-4.
• UK offensive line coach Eric Wolford and Chattanooga defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward were on the 2009 South Carolina staff together.
• Ward is quite familiar with Kentucky football, having served as the defensive coordinator at SEC East rival South Carolina from 2009-15 and then spending two seasons at staff at Louisville in 2017-18.
• UK defensive backs coach Chris Collins and Chattanooga head coach Rusty Wright and tight ends coach Jacob Huesman all were on the Georgia State staff together in 2018.
Last Time Out
• Kentucky used a punishing ground game, big plays and a timely sack on the final possession to defeat Missouri, 35-28, to move to 2-0 on the season and 1-0 in SEC play.
• It is the sixth win in the past seven meetings for the Cats against Mizzou.
• Kentucky scored 35 points, most in an SEC opener since a 42-29 win at Arkansas in 2007.
• UK had 519 total offensive yards. It is the first time in school history that UK has opened the season with two straight 500-yard games.
• Kentucky made 66.7 percent of its third-down conversions (8 of 12), best since converting 72.7 percent (8 of 11) against Vanderbilt in 2019.
• Junior quarterback Will Levis completed 10 of 18 passes for 179 yards and one touchdown.
• With starting lineups available since 1993, he is the sixth quarterback since that time to win his first two starts – also Terry Wilson (2018), Patrick Towles (2014), Morgan Newton (2009), Mike Hartline (2008) and Billy Jack Haskins (1995). Junior running back Chris Rodriguez Jr. rushed 27 times for 206 yards – both career highs – and two scores. He also caught a five-yard touchdown on the first possession, his first collegiate receiving TD. He earned Co-SEC Player of the Week honors.
• Junior wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson caught five passes for 101 yards. He is the first Wildcat to have back-to-back 100-yard receiving games since Jeff Badet in 2016.
• He is the first Wildcat to have 100-yard receiving games in the first two games of a season since Craig Yeast in 1998. He is the first Wildcat with a 100-yard receiving game in an SEC opener since Garrett Johnson at Florida in 2014.
• Senior linebacker Jacquez Jones got his first collegiate interception – and UK’s first takeaway of the year – with an acrobatic leaping grab on the first possession of the third quarter, setting up a UK touchdown. He added two pass breakups.
• Sophomore linebacker J.J. Weaver had a crucial eight-yard sack on Missouri’s final possession of the game. He also had a three-yard tackle for loss and caused a fumble. He now has 2.5 sacks in the first two games.