The Kentucky Wildcats started their season off with a win on Saturday, taking down Toledo 38-24 in the first-ever meeting between the two. This week the Cats face another MAC opponent, one that they struggled with when they last met up in 2017.
Eastern Michigan comes into Kroger Field for the second time in three seasons, this time off a 30-23 victory over Coastal Carolina. A victory would mean a road win over a power-five conference team for a third straight season, after knocking off Rutgers in 2017 and Purdue last year. The game was originally to be played in Rynearson Stadium, the home of the Eagles, but the game was moved to Lexington after a payout from UK, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.
Here’s what you need to know about the Eagles, who are looking for their first win against Kentucky:
Chris Creighton is in his sixth season with Eastern Michigan. He is 23-40 in that time, and 20-19 from 2016 to now. He led the Eagles to a 7-6 record last season, which also included with a Camellia Bowl appearance.
Quarterback Mike Glass III got his year off to a fantastic start, throwing for 188 yards and three touchdowns in the week one game against the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers. The senior completed 90.9 percent of his passes (20/22) in the contest. In limited action last season, he tallied 1,024 yards and nine touchdowns with just one interception and a 61.4 completion percentage.
Last year's leading rusher Shaq Vann also had a solid first game. The senior running back picked up 108 yards on 22 carries—the rest of the team tallied just 21 yards on 11 carries.
The top two weapons in the passing game in week one for the Eagles were wide receivers Dylan Drummond, a sophomore, and senior Mathew Sexton. After scoring only once in 2018, Drummond recorded five receptions for 52 yards and two touchdowns against Coastal Carolina. Sexton added four catches for 48 yards. The team’s top returning receiver from 2018, Arthur Jackson III, put up only two catches for eight yards, and will look to have a much bigger impact against the Cats.
Replacing the team-leading 127 tackles from 2018 senior Kyle Rachwal will be a group effort, one that two linebackers in particular looked more than ready to do in the first game. Senior Kobie Beltram racked up 12 of them, while junior Terry Myrick contributed 11. The two players combined for just 38 tackles last season, and look to continue flourishing in their new roles.
Defensive back Vince Calhoun is the top returning player from the 2018 unit. The senior had 84 tackles last season, and tied for the team lead with three interceptions.
The Eagles and Wildcats will battle for their second win of the year on Saturday. Game time is set for 7:30 p.m., the first night game at Kroger Field in 2019. The game will be televised on the SEC Network Alternate channel and the ESPN app.