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Eastern Kentucky Scouting Report

EKU had its shot to knock off its northern neighbors in October of 2015. The Colonels failed to seal the deal by wasting a 27-13 lead with seven minutes remaining in the game. Kentucky was fortunate to force overtime before winning the contest 34-27. Eastern has over 20 transfers on its roster and possesses a potent passing game. An attacking defense played the once explosive WKU offense to a closer than expected outcome last Saturday as the Tops prevailed 31-17.

LAST MEETING

October 4th, 2015. In a game that was dominated by EKU. Coach Dean Hood deserved the win. A sluggish Kentucky team needed an overtime period to beat the visiting Colonels 34-27. Patrick Towles found Dorian Baker from three yards out to win the game for Mark Stoops and an agitated crowd.

OFFENSE

The Colonels will live and die with the forward pass. QB Tim Boyle accounted for 92.7% of EKU’s total yardage in its loss to Western Kentucky. Receivers Ryan Markush (107-yards) and Neiko Creamer (79-yards) accounted for a bulk of its total production. Both touchdowns were passes from Boyle to Markush. The running game was stagnant. Former Louisville RB LJ Scott led the team in rushing with 8 carries for 25-yards. Boyle had two rushing attempts for 8 yards which translates to a traditional pocket passer. While highly productive a week ago, the UConn transfer could come under duress from the newly discovered Kentucky pass rush. With nothing to lose and everything to gain; expect the Colonels to throw the proverbial kitchen sink at Matt House’s defense.

Projected Starters

Quarterback-Tim Boyle 6’4, 233 Sr.
Running Back-LJ Scott 6’0, 222 Jr.
Left Tackle-Cameron Kowalewski 6’5 277 Jr.
Left Guard-De’jour Simpson 6’3, 320 So.
Center-Kagen Skidmore 6’2, 306 Sr.
Right Guard-Chance Edwards-6’5, 330 Sr.
Right Tackle-Justin Myles-6’3 301 Jr.
Tight End-Dan Paul-6’3 253 Jr.
Receiver-Neiko Creamer-6’3, 224 Jr.
Receiver-Alex Cabrera-6’0 184 So.
Receiver-Ryan Markush-6’2, 189 Sr.

Production

Scoring-17 points per game
Rushing-25 yards per game (ypg)
Passing-320 ypg
Total-364 ypg
3rd Down-8/15, 53.3%

Top Performers

Passing-QB Tim Boyle: 29/46, 320-yards, 2 TD’s.
Rushing-RB LJ Scott: 8 carries, 25-yards, 3.1 yards per carry.
Receiving-WR Ryan Markush: 7 receptions, 107-yards, 2 TD’s, 15.3 yards per reception.

DEFENSE

Jeff Brohm is now at Purdue. But, last season’s WKU offense was prolific by averaging 45.5 points and 523 yards per game. EKU’s defensive performance against the Toppers has to be considered a success as it limited WKU to 364 total yards and 31 points. Again, different team, different coach. But still, forcing 9 tackles for loss and racking up 3 quarterback sacks has to be considered an upgrade.

Eastern will attack, scheme, take chances, and attempt to be the aggressor when Kentucky possesses the football. Its led by linebackers Jeffrey Canady and Damon Lowe. The LB duo is joined by disruptive defensive ends Aaron Patrick, Luder Jean Louis, and Taquan Evans. Patrick is an All OVC selection and was named as a Sophomore All American. Luder Jean Louis led the Colonel in Havoc stats: QB sacks, forced fumble, and tackles for loss.

With the average height of EKU’s starting secondary being slightly less than 5’10, expect UK to take shots downfield and rely upon the 50/50 catch as an advantage. There are similarities in Southern Miss and Eastern Kentucky. Both rely upon havoc and disruption when facing opponents with a size advantage. The BBN could see more of the same chaos defensive theory on Saturday.

Projected Starters

Defensive End-Aaron Patrick 6’4, 236 Jr.
Defensive Tackle-Dillon Denault 6’2, 280 Fr.
Defensive Tackle-Connor Foos 6’4, 275 So.
Defensive End-Luder Jean Louis 6’4, 223 Sr.
Linebacker-Jeffrey Canady 6’0, 232 Sr.
Linebacker-Damon Lowe 6’2, 241 So.
Linebacker-Corey Glass 5’10, 217 Jr.
Nickel-Ben Bascom 5’9, 186 Sr.
Cornerback-Nigel Bethel 5’9, 189 Sr.
Cornerback-Buck Solomon 6’0, 180 Sr.
Safety-Kobie Grace 5’9, 191 Sr.
Safety-Eric Reed 5’9, 208 Sr.

Production

Points Allowed: 31
Rush: 100
Pass: 264
Total: 364
3rd Down:
QB Sacks: 3
Tackles for Loss: 9
Forced Fumble: 1

Top Performers

Tackles: LB Damon Lowe, LB Jeffrey Canady, Safety Eric Reed-6
QB Sacks: DE Luder Jean Louis and DE Taquan Evans-1.5
Tackles for Loss: DE Luder Jean Louis and DE Taquan Evans-1.5
Forced Fumble: DE Luder Jean Louis-1

SPECIAL TEAMS

Punter Keith Wrzuszczak: 4 punts, 40.5 yards per
Kicker Lucas Williams: 1-1 FG’s, longest 30-yards
Kick Returners: LJ Scott-23.5 yards per return, Alonzo Booth-26 ypr.

What does all this mean?

I watch a ton of college football. The quality of 1-AA or FCS as it’s called now has significantly increased in recent years. Week one displayed plenty of examples: James Madison beat East Carolina 34-14, Howard topped UNLV, Liberty shocked Baylor, and Youngstown State took Pitt to overtime. Perhaps a rise in transfers has led to this happening. Regardless, EKU is a tradition rich program with a giant chip on its shoulder in regards to the University of Kentucky.

With personnel advantages at every position group, Kentucky should win this game. With a fraction of the BBN concerned over the Wildcat offense, it would be advantageous for the Cats light up the scoreboard. A pass-happy offense with a pocket passing quarterback will provide the Kentucky pass rushers with ample opportunities to force turnovers and register quarterback sacks. Furthermore, EKU doesn’t present a threat for a running game. Again, more of an opportunity to develop a deep, promising, and inexperienced defensive line. I’m normally not one to focus on style points, but a convicting win would be a momentum boost prior to traveling to Columbia, South Carolina. But, don’t expect EKU to roll over. The Colonels will put up a fight and will not be intimidated on Kroger Field.

Article written by Freddie Maggard

Former University of Kentucky Quarterback and Andy Griffith Fan Club President