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UK isn’t taking Eastern Michigan lightly after getting their ‘tail kicked’ in 2017

Kentucky and Eastern Michigan have only met once on the gridiron. Kentucky won the 2017 meeting 24-20, but things did not go so well for the Cats.

“We got our tail kicked,” offensive coordinator Eddie Gran recalled. “We absolutely got our tail kicked. We didn’t play well enough. It was awful.”

Eastern Michigan outgained UK 312-228 on offense and recorded four more first downs. Stephen Johnson was sacked five times, twice by current Oakland Raider Maxx Crosby, and the Eagles recorded ten tackles for loss. This year’s offensive line was reminded of the performance before game week began.

“Coach Schlarman was definitely talking about that already this morning and yesterday,” Mark Stoops said on Monday. “So he’ll get their attention, he’ll get them right and they will be ready to play.”

Even though Crosby and most of the Eagles’ front seven departed after last season, this team cannot be taken lightly.

“Their coaching staff is really, really good. Their kids, they understand football. They understand schemes. They understand leverage. They’re great tacklers. They play with a great sense of urgency at all times and it might not be a lot, but no matter what they do, they do it darn near perfect. You have to go out and beat this team. You have to out-physical them and you have to beat them. You have to be darn near perfect,” said Gran.

Kentucky was far from perfect in 2017, but was able to escape thanks to three timely turnovers, including two late interceptions that secured the victory.

A late Kendall Randolph interception helped the Cats hold off the Eagles.

Even though EMU’s personnel has changed, the scheme that beat Toledo a year ago is still intact.

“They gave us one heck of a game a couple years ago, so we know they’re another good football team from the MAC, very well coached, and very similar in that way,” Stoops said. “They did a nice job of just staying patient and nickel and dime’ing us and being efficient, trying to stay ahead of the chains, much like Toledo did this past week early on.”

Once Brogan Roback moved on to Hard Knocks fame, Mike Glass III took over for the Eagles under center. Last week EMU’s dual-threat quarterback proved he can proficiently move the ball down the field by nickel and dime’ing Coastal Carolina’s defense. He completed 20-of-22 passes for 188 yards and three touchdowns.

“He’s super efficient. He understands the offense,” said defensive coordinator Brad White. “They do a nice job of giving him high-percentage throws to get him in rhythm early. The receivers, they’ve got receivers with good strong hands. They operate well as a unit. They’re well-coached so we’ve got our hands full.”

Along with Glass’ offensive contributions, the EMU defense picked off four passes to secure a 30-23 victory on the road in week one. Kentucky must play clean or the game could come down to the wire, just like it did in 2017.

“They’re a good, physical football team that plays the game the right way and they like to stay efficient,” said Stoops. “It will be another challenge.”


Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

4 Comments for UK isn’t taking Eastern Michigan lightly after getting their ‘tail kicked’ in 2017

  1. Led Weappelin
    1:57 pm September 5, 2019 Permalink

    Aside from an injury to one of our players I can’t think of a worse thing to happen to this Kentucky football team than to lose this second game of the season the week before we host Florida. That would take a lot of air out of our sails. Head to the grindstone men. Take care of Eastern Michigan before you even think about next weekend.

  2. JASUN74
    6:27 pm September 5, 2019 Permalink

    Thanks Led! Although I’m very confident in this years team, I agree that the kids need to have all their focus on this game and never look ahead during the season. One game at a time. Our Coaches preach this and they teach our kids very well how to prepare but still yet, they are kids. Lol. Well young men!!

    Anyway, I agree with you my friend and am hoping for a 14-20 point win! I’ll take a 1 point win at the horn though. Haha. This game will show us Kentucky fans a lot about how well they can recover and get ready for the next one. That’s one of the most important things about a Football team. The Staff has done a good job in this area so far I must say.

    We need a great showing but We also need a good injury free game.

  3. makeitstop
    8:52 pm September 5, 2019 Permalink

    I don’t disagree. We should handle them easily but after 50 years of watching I say that advisedly. I do think we hv PTSD about “dual threat” QBs, however. We have handled them much better the last couple of years. We beat the best one we faced in Lamar Jackson and handled Nick Fitzgerald last year. I’d worry more about good drop back passers than dual threat guys… maybe that’s a benefit of practicing against Terry or Stephen Johnson, maybe it’s bc our LB are better and we contain better now w size and speed. The dual threat worry should be a thing of the past (knocks on wood as he types).

  4. njcat54
    8:59 pm September 6, 2019 Permalink

    Coaches should just put last year’s stats up on the bulletin board. They outgained is and held Benny under 100 yrds.