Going into Saturday’s game, there’s one name being tossed around the most: Ito Smith. If you missed it, definitely check out Freddie Maggard’s analysis of Smith here. The Southern Miss running back dominated against the Wildcats last season, rushing for 173 yards on 36 carries and adding five receptions for 40 yards through the air. He also scored the team’s first touchdown, an eight-yard run that marked the beginning of the end for Kentucky.
This year, the wildcats are ready for him.
When speaking on Smith and his talent, Coach Matt House had nothing but good things to say. Still, stopping Smith and the rest of the Golden Eagles’ run game will be an important test for Kentucky in their first game of the season.
“He’s a great back. He did a great job in the run game with the offensive line,” House said. “[Smith] blocks it up well for them and finishes. There’s no doubt. I think [stopping the run game] will play a huge role in our success.”
Senior Courtney Love has “a lot of respect” for the running back, but adamantly believes UK has the power to stop him.
“He’s a Division I athlete just like us, he’s on scholarship and he paid his dues,” Love said. “Last year, he had a phenomenal game [and] he had a phenomenal season. We’re just ready to go against him again and just show that we can stop him.”
Stopping him will be one thing, but cornerback Derrick Baity wants even more.
“I just remember him last year,” Baity said. “He’s a little guy, so when you get him, you’re about to hit him and make him feel it. I think we should make him feel all the hits.”