Preview of the Kentucky Wildcats vs. Youngstown St.

No. 9 Kentucky vs. Youngstown State

When: Noon, Saturday (Sept. 17).

TV: SEC Network

Advertisers: Play-by-play, Dave Neal; analysis, Deuce McAllister; on the sidelines, Andraya Carter

Radio: WLAP-AM 630, WBUL-FM 98.1.

satellite radio: XM Channel 81, Sirius Channel 81, Internet Channel 81.

Folders: Kentucky (2-0, 1-0 SEC); Youngstown State (2-0, 0-0 MVFC).

Series history: First meeting.

Line: No chance

The story line

Coming off an emotional 26-16 win at then No. 12 Florida in its SEC opener, Kentucky will be looking to maintain its motivational goal against foe FCS Youngstown State. For British coaches and Youngstown natives Mark Stoops, Vince Marrow and Frank Buffano, meeting the Penguins is a competition against their “home team”. The game will also mark a return to Lexington for Youngstown State’s leading receiver Bryce Oliver (10 receptions, 121 yards, two touchdowns in 2022), who played for the Wildcats from 2018-2020.

Kentucky linebacker Jordan Wright (15) had six tackles, two tackles for a loss, a quarterback sack and an interception that allowed a touchdown in the United Kingdom’s 26-16 victory at the time . 12 Florida Saturday night. Silas Walker

The number to watch

Kentucky Bags Allowed. After allowing defenders to take quarterback Will Levis down seven times in the first two games, the UK ranks 121st out of 131 FBS teams in the ‘sacks allowed’ category. The good news in Florida is that after the Gators sacked Levis three times in the first half, they couldn’t reach him in the second. Against an FCS foe, it would be nice if the “New Big Blue Wall” could keep Levis clean.

Kentucky quarterback Will Levis, center, has been sacked seven times in the first two games of 2022. John Raoux PA

The big threat

Jaleel McLaughlin. The 5-foot-9, 183-pound running back from Youngstown State is an example that big explosiveness can come in a physically small package. In Youngstown State’s season-opening win over Duquesne, the Marshville, North Carolina product rushed for 203 yards and three touchdowns on 20 carries. He returned last week against Dayton with 129 rushing yards and a touchdown on 13 carries plus a 52-yard touchdown reception.

Youngstown State running back Jaleel McLaughlin was an AP Third Team FCS All-America pick in 2021 after rushing for 1,139 yards and 12 touchdowns and averaging 113.9 yards in one game. Youngstown State University Athletics

On the spot

The Kentucky Offense. As sweet as it was to defeat Florida in “The Swamp,” the victory came in a game where the United Kingdom gained just 272 yards of total offense and when the Wildcats defense scored a touchdown on a pick six and set up another with an interception returned to the Gators 6-yard line. With back-to-back non-league games against Youngstown State and Northern Illinois, Kentucky’s new offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello has a window to develop a more potent offense before Britain returns to the pursuit. from the SEC in Mississippi on October 1.

Kentucky offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello, left, talks Britain quarterback Will Levis (7), right, will look to reinvigorate a Wildcats offense that ranks 112 out of 131 FBS teams in total offense through two games with an average of 312.5 yards per contest. Brian Sims


is ecstatic. Kentucky’s third win over Florida in the last five meetings has the Big Blue Nation elated. A season after the UK found themselves flat and barely beaten (28-23) foes FCS Chattanooga, the challenge against Youngstown State is to avoid a post-Gators disappointment.

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Mark Story has worked in the Lexington Herald-Leader sports department since August 27, 1990 and has been a Herald-Leader sports columnist since 2001. I’ve covered every Kentucky-Louisville football game since 1994, every basketball game UK-U of L match but three since 1996-97 and every Kentucky Derby since 1994.
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