Kentucky coach Mark Stoops, right, watches his players dance in celebration after defeating Florida in an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, in Gainesville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

No. 9 Kentucky Moves on to Youngstown State

It is easy to look at Kentucky as a clear lock against Youngstown State. After an impressive 26-16 road win against the Florida Gators, Kentucky will want to build off of that momentum. Although, it will be important to not take an autopilot approach to Youngstown State. Youngstown has not faced an SEC opponent this season so far, but they have started off hot, winning their first two games of the season. In those first two games, they have outscored their opponents by 17 and 33 points so Kentucky needs to stay locked in.

Coach’s Hometown Team

Playing this game will not be typical for UK head coach Mark Stoops. As for Stoops, he grew up in the Youngstown area and has many ties to the school. Stoops explained how he has family who coached there including his uncle and his brother. It seems that Stoops has respect for his hometown team and will take them seriously. Youngstown is undoubtedly a team that wants to prove itself against a top 10 opponent in Kentucky. Stoops expressed his excitement on Monday stating, “I’m really proud that they’re coming in and I’m looking forward to it,” Stoops revealed. Stoops will gladly take on Youngstown and will look to his knowledge of the team to assist him on Saturday.

Key Numbers

Although Kentucky has taken a heavy rotational approach on defense thus far. They will look to get outstanding production from Jordan Wright. The 6’5″ 230 lb senior caused havoc in his first game back against Florida. He tallied 6 tackles, 1 sack and the game-sealing interception in that game. Kentucky will hope Jordan is a difference maker going into Saturday. Stoops explains how important the heavy rotation is to the defense.

Despite Kentucky being the clear favorite coming into this game, they should still watch out for key players on Youngstown, including shifty running back Jaleel McLaughlin who has been huge for them up to this point. McLaughlin has been the workhorse for this team with over 30 carries with 330 yards and four touchdowns in his first two games of the season. He is an explosive back that can beat defenses in many ways. To wrap up for Youngstown, Bryce Oliver is another key player to watch. The lead receiver played for Kentucky for two years before going to Youngstown State. He will be someone to watch on Saturday against the stout defense of Kentucky.

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