Kentucky football looks to go 3-0 with win over Murray State


Kentucky Wildcats wide receiver Dorian Baker (2) hugs Kentucky Wildcats running back Asim Rose (10) prior to his touchdown during the game against Central Michigan on Saturday Sept. 1, 2018, at Kroger Field in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky won 35-20. Photo by Arden Barnes | Staff

Braden Ramsey

Kentucky returns home Saturday after a massive win at then-No. 25 Florida last weekend for a game against Murray State, an FCS Division I school. The two schools have only played once before, with Kentucky winning the matchup.

No. 16 Mississippi State looms on the horizon for the Cats, which, coupled with the big win last week, makes this a trap game. The Racers may be inferior competition, but they can be dangerous if Kentucky gets caught looking ahead.

Murray State is 0-2 this season, losing at Central Arkansas 26-13 in their most recent game. The offense thus far has been a trouble area for the Racers. Quarterback Drew Anderson has tossed three interceptions and only one touchdown so far, and the team averages 2.9 yards per carry on rushing attempts. This effort has resulted in just under 47 minutes of possession time on the season, leaving the defense on the field constantly. Senior linebacker Quincy Williams leads the Racers with 21 tackles, while defensive back Jason Johnson and linebacker Anthony Koclanakis each have an interception.

Kentucky is looking to start 3-0 and has a prime opportunity to do so. The Cats have overcome turnovers in their two wins by dominating in the trenches on both sides of the ball. Benny Snell has 300 yards on the ground already, and has his name appearing on some Heisman watch lists.

The team as a whole has more than 600 rushing yards, averaging 7.2 yards per tote and grinding opposing defenses into submission late in games. The offensive line has yet to allow a sack. Defensively, Kentucky is allowing only 3.6 yards per carry. The rest of the defensive line rotation has been stepping up with popular breakout candidate Josh Paschal on the mend, and will need to continue playing at a high level.

ESPN’s FPI gives Kentucky a 99.3 percent chance to win. This game gives the Cats a great chance to get the passing game going and get the turnover woes under control before shifting focus to next week’s big test.

Kickoff for Murray State-Kentucky is in Lexington at 12:00 p.m. on Saturday. The game can be viewed on SEC Network.