Wildcats Conclude 2012 Home Schedule with Senior Night

Nov. 15, 2012

After its lone bye week of the season, the University of Kentucky football team will return to game action this weekend when it completes its 2012 home schedule with a non-conference battle with Samford on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET at Commonwealth Stadium. The game will serve as Senior Night for Kentucky, who will honor a total of 19 seniors before the game.

Kentucky Missouri
Kentucky vs. Samford
Sat., Nov. 17 - 7:30 p.m. ET
Lexington, Ky.
Gameday Information
Game Notes: UK Get Acrobat Reader | SU Get Acrobat Reader
Radio: UK IMG
Live Video via ESPN3
Live Blog
Live Audio
Postgame Press Conference
Text Updates
UK 2012 Team Stats SU
16.4 Scoring/game 26.9
16.9 First downs/game 20.1
291.3 Total offense/game 376.6
115.6 Rushing yards/game 156.7
175.7 Passing yards/game 219.9
20.6 Kickoff returns (avg) 24.5
6.6 Punt returns (avg) 10.6
38.9 Punting (avg) 38.4
24:01 Time of possession/game 29:10
37.6 Third down conversion 36.7
12.5 Fourth down conversion 66.6
-0.30 Turnover margin/game +0.80
33.2 Points allowed/game 19.3
413.3 Total yards allowed/game 323.7
177.3 Rush yards allowed/game 146.9
236.0 Pass yards allowed/game 176.8

The bye week was much welcomed for the Wildcats who have had an injury-filled 2012 season. The bye week began with the announcement that head coach Joker Phillips would not be retained following the completion of the 2012 season. Phillips will coach the Wildcats against Samford and Tennessee.

UK entered the bye week off a loss to Southeastern Conference foe Vanderbilt. UK junior linebacker Avery Williamson was the story of the game for UK, gathering a career-best 20 tackles and a fumble forced. Williamson's 20-tackle game was the first by a Wildcat since Chad Anderson had 21 tackles against Georgia in 2003. Williamson now leads the SEC and is third nationally in tackles per game at 11.5. The native of Milan, Tenn., has earned double-figure tackles in seven games this season.

Kentucky continued to get experience from true freshman quarterbacks Jalen Whitlow and Patrick Towles. Whitlow completed five passes for 66 yards and seven rushes for 23 yards against VU, while Towles completed eight passes for 93 yards. Freshman wide receiver A.J. Legree led UK in receiving with three catches for 47 yards, while senior Aaron Boyd also had three catches for 28 yards.

UK will conclude the 2012 season next weekend at Tennessee.

More: Phillips Recalls His Senior Night Memories, Ready for Samford

Cat Scratches: Sending off seniors the first step toward UK's future

Change is at Kentucky football's doorstep.

Sometime in the coming weeks and months, a new head coach will be named. He will then sit alongside Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart and spell out his vision for the program, triggering an offseason of team and individual meetings, recruiting and practices designed to build toward an unprecedented level of success at UK.

But first, the Wildcats must close out the 2012 season. Looking to finish a disappointing season with strong performances in their last two games, the Cats hope to build some momentum heading into an offseason of transition beginning with a win over Samford on Saturday.

"For the season, for Coach (Joker) Phillips, for this team, it means everything," senior guard Larry Warford said. "No matter who the opponent is, going out with two wins is going to be the best thing that could happen."... read the full preview

Scouting Samford

The Samford Bulldogs enter Commonwealth Stadium on Saturday with a 7-3 record in FCS action, winning each of their last two games. Samford is 5-3 in the Southern Conference this season. The Bulldogs are coached by Pat Sullivan, who is in his sixth season at the helm of the program.

Samford has had a balanced attack both offensively and defensively this season. On offense, SU ranks 55th in the FCS in total offense (376.6), 53rd in rushing offense (156.7), 54th in scoring offense (26.9) and 53rd in passing offense (219.9). Senior quarterback Andy Summerlin leads the offensive attack having completed 66.3 percent of his passes. Summerlin is 226-for-341 for 2,165 yards and 10 touchdowns.

His favorite receiver this season has been junior wide receiver Kelsey Pope, who has caught 63 passes for 530 yards and four touchdowns. Senior wide receiver Riley Hawkins also has four touchdowns on 23 catches for 342 yards. Six players have caught 18 or more passes.

The rushing game has been paced by Fabian Truss, who has 194 carries for 1,026 yards and 11 touchdowns. Truss has more carries than the rest of the team combined this season.

On defense, Samford ranks 17th in the FCS in scoring defense (19.3), 26th in total defense (323.7), 21st in pass defense (176.8), 13th in pass defense efficiency (108.42) and 49th in rushing defense (146.9). Sophomore defensive back Jaquiski Tartt leads the team in tackles with 87, along with four interceptions, 10 pass breakups, three tackles for loss and one fumble forced. Senior defensive end Nicholas Williams leads the team in tackles for loss with eight, including a team-high six sacks.

Samford ranks first in the SoCon and tied for 13th in the FCS in turnover margin at +8. The Bulldogs have forced and recovered five fumbles and 13 interceptions this season.

On special teams, Hawkins averages 10.6 yards per punt return, while Truss is averaging 27.1 per kickoff return with one touchdown. Greg Peranich has 61 punts this season for an average of 39.95, including 15 inside the opponents 20-yard line. Cameron Yaw is 14-of-22 on field goals with a season-long 52 yarder.

Benton, Warford Named Game Captains

University of Kentucky football head coach Joker Phillips has announced that senior defensive back Mikie Benton and senior offensive guard Larry Warford have been named game captains for Kentucky’s final home game of the season on Saturday vs. Samford at 7:30 p.m. ET on CSS.

Benton has been a key part of the Wildcats’ defense over the last two years after initially coming to UK as walk-on. So far this season, Benton has 12 tackles and has forced a fumble. The senior dealt with some injuries the last few weeks that have limited his snaps, but will play Saturday.

Warford is playing as well as anyone in the country up front, according to Phillips and position coach Mike Summers. The native of Richmond, Ky., has played in 45 career games and made 35 consecutive starts. This is the fifth time this season Warford has been named game captain, also getting the honors for the Louisville, Georgia, Missouri and Vanderbilt games. The senior is on the Outland Trophy and Lombardi Trophy Watch Lists, while he was named SEC Co-Offensive Lineman of the Week after his performance vs. Kent State. Warford was also chosen as a first-team midseason All-SEC selection by Phil Steele’s College Football.

Benton and Warford will join permanent game captains Matt Smith and Collins Ukwu at the pregame coin toss.