Wildcats Open 2016 vs. Southern Miss at Home

The University of Kentucky football team starts its fourth season under head coach Mark Stoops on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET against Southern Miss at Commonwealth Stadium. The season lidlifter starts the 126th season of intercollegiate football at the university.

Southern Miss at Kentucky
Sat., Sept. 3 - 7:30 p.m. ET
Commonwealth Stadium
Lexington, Ky.
Game Notes: UK Get Acrobat Reader | USM Get Acrobat Reader
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UK 2015 Team Stats USM
5-7 Record 9-5
2-6 Conference Record 7-1
24.6 Scoring/game 39.9
372.0 Total offense/game 509.5
162.7 Rushing yards/game 179.8
209.3 Passing yards/game 329.7
21.7 Kickoff returns (avg) 23.3
7.4 Punt returns (avg) 5.0
39.6 Punting (avg) 38.3
29:17 Time of possession/game 30:20
37.4% Third down conversion 46.0%
68.4% Fourth down conversion 52.0%
27.4 Points allowed/game 25.6
394.2 Total yards allowed/game 379.5
196.1 Rush yards allowed/game 151.9
198.1 Pass yards allowed/game 227.6
Kentucky is coming off a 5-7 season that saw several accomplishments, including its first Southeastern Conference road win since 2009. UK returns 22 offensive letterwinners from a season ago, including nine primary starters, while the defense returns 17 letterwinners from last season with six starters returning.

The game will mark only the third meeting between the two schools in football with UK owning a 2-0 all-time record in those games played. Both games were played in Lexington.

Cat Scratches: Cats Eager for First Chance to Show Fruits of Their Labor

Those two-a-days weren’t for fun. Neither were early-morning workouts, grueling weight-lifting sessions or late-night film sessions.

All that work the Kentucky football team logged this winter, spring, summer and fall was for Saturday and the 11 Saturdays to follow.

“We are excited to get going,” Stoops said. “It is finally game week. We have had a really good camp and our players have worked extremely hard. We are relatively good shape and are really anxious to get going and get in this game week.”

The feeling around the Kentucky Football Training Facility this week has been unanimous leading up to a showdown with Southern Miss...Read More

Scouting Southern Miss

• Southern Miss is coming off an impressive 2015 season that saw the Golden Eagles go 9-5 overall, including 7-1 in C-USA to earn a bid into the C-USA Championship Game and Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl. The Golden Eagles lost both games, falling to WKU 45-28 before dropping a 44-31 contest to Washington in the bowl game.
• The Golden Eagles enter the season behind new head coach Jay Hopson, who took over the program a􀅌 er a successful s􀆟 nt as a head coach at Alcorn State. Hopson is the school’s 21st head football coach in its 100th year of college football.
• Last season under head coach Tom Monken, the Golden Eagles soared on both sides of the ball. Southern Miss averaged 39.9 points per game and limited opponents to 25.6 points per game. Southern Miss returns it top rusher and top passer from a season ago in Ito Smith and Nick Mullens. Smith rushed 171 times for 1,128 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2015, while he caught 49 passes out of the backfeld for 515 yards and three touchdowns. Nick Mullens has received several preseason honors a􀅌 er a stellar season in 2015, completing 63.5% of his passes for 4,476 yards and 38 touchdowns.
• Defensively, Southern Miss lost some key pieces from a season ago, including Brian Anderson, who led the team with 13.5 tackles for loss and four sacks. Returning is linebacker D’Nerius Antoine, who led the team with 103 tackles and added 7.5 tackles for loss, and defensive back Picasso Nelson, who had 59 tackles last season and five pass breakups. Linebacker Elijah Parker also returns after having 47 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss and three pass breakups last season.

Series Record vs. Southern Miss

• Saturday’s meeting between Kentucky and Southern Miss will mark the third all-time meeting between the two schools
• Kentucky holds a 2-0 all-time record against Southern Miss, defeating the Golden Eagles 71-7 in the first-ever meeting in 1949 before taking down USM 32-0 in 1986. Both games were played in Lexington
• Saturday will mark the second time in the series that the two teams have met to open a season

Cats Return Two Career 1,000-yard Rushers in 2016

• UK running backs Stanley Boom Williams (1,341) and Jojo Kemp (1,360) each reached the 1,000-yard mark in career rushing during the 2015 season, marking the sixth time in school history that two Wildcats have reached 1,000 career yards in the same season
• The other duos to accomplish this feat were Sonny Collins and Doug Kotar in 1973; Chris Hill and Rod Stewart in 1978; Mark Higgs and Marc Logan in 1985; Damon Hood and Moe Williams in 1994; and Derek Homer and Anthony White in 1998
• This is the first time in school history UK has had two players enter a season with at least 1,341 career rushing yards

Texas Roadhouse Countdown to Kickoff

Tune in to the UK Sports Network for the “Texas Roadhouse Countdown to Kickoff” two hours before every football game. From Cat Walk to Cat Talk, host Christi Thomas and former UK Quarterback Freddie Maggard will focus on the X’s and O’s of the game and bring a little fun to pregame in the first 30 minutes of the show. Afterward, Host Neil Price is joined by Dick Gabriel, Tom Leach and Jeff Piecoro to continue the official pregame broadcast until kickoff. The show is broadcast in Lexington on 98.1 WBUL & 630 WLAP, UK Radio Network affiliates, online at ukathletics.com, and in the UK Gameday App. For the first time, the two-hour pregame show will be live streamed every home game for fans to watch on ukathletics.com.