Wildcats Return Home to Face Jacksonville State
Oct. 21, 2011
Coming off its lone bye week of the 2011 season, the University of Kentucky football team is hoping to take full advantage of the week off to regroup and refocus as it hosts non-conference foe Jacksonville State University on Homecoming at Commonwealth Stadium on Saturday.
The game with Jacksonville State begins a three-game homestand for the Wildcats, who will welcome Mississippi State and Ole Miss the following two weeks.
The Wildcats defense has performed well in spurts this season behind the impressive play of seniors Danny Trevathan and Winston Guy, who are ranked first and second respectively in the Southeastern Conf erence in tackles. Trevathan has 72 tackles this season and became only the 18th player in school history to gather 300 tackles in a career when he increased his total to 303 in UK's last game. Guy has 67 tackles and leads Kentucky in tackles-for-loss with 8.5.
Offensively, Kentucky received bad news during the off week that true freshman tailback Josh Clemons, who is leading the team in rushing, will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury.
Junior quarterback Morgan Newton is second on the team in rushing with 63 carries for 187 yards and one touchdown, while he has thrown six touchdown passes this season. Junior wide receiver La'Rod King leads UK's receiving corps with 22 catches for 315 yards and four TDs.
This is the first-ever meeting between Kentucky and Jacksonville State. Ironically, this is the second consecutive game for UK to face a team nicknamed Gamecocks after taking on South Carolina in the previous contest.
Cat Scratches: Cats ready to begin second season with Jacksonville State
At the Nutter Training Facility, the nerve center of Kentucky football, there is a board showing the Wildcats' schedule. Sometimes it shows a big picture view of the entire season with 12 games and the SEC Championship. Other times, it shows only the current week's game to hone the Wildcats' focus in on their upcoming opponent.
These last two weeks, the staff has done something new with it.
The schedule now shows only the final six games of the 2011, turning the page on the first half of the year that saw the Cats struggle to a 2-4 record. In essence, the Cats are looking to make the second half of 2011 a season unto itself. It begins Saturday at noon when they face off against Jacksonville State at Commonwealth Stadium... read the full preview
Scouting Jacksonville State
Jacksonville State enters Saturday's matchup with Kentucky holding a four-game winning streak and is coming off its biggest margin of victory of the year by taking down Austin Peay on the road 44-14 last Saturday.
The Gamecocks are averaging 31.3 points per game this season, while limiting their opponents to 24.5 points per game. JSU has been good at running the ball this season and stopping the run. The Gamecocks rank tied for 16th among FCS teams in rushing offense with 209.7 rushing yards per game, while holding their opponents to 115 rushing yards per game, which ranks them 25th in the FCS.
Jacksonville State has been led offensively by former Georgia running back Washaun Ealey, who has 114 attempts for 594 yards and five touchdowns. Senior running back Calvin Middleton is second on the team in rushing with 78 rushes for 302 yards and four touchdowns, while quarterback Coty Blanchard is a run-threat quarterback with 56 rushes for 244 yards and three touchdowns.
Blanchard also leads the JSU passing attack, completing 67-of-113 passes for 860 yards and six touchdowns. Blanchard's favorite target is junior wide receiver Trey Smith, who has 14 catches for 188 yards and two touchdowns. Senior wide receiver James Shaw is second in receiving with 13 catches for 107 yards, while junior wide receiver Kevyn Cooper is third with 12 catches for 169 yards and one touchdown.
Defensively, the Gamecocks are led by sophomore linebacker Rashad Smith, who leads the team in tackles with 39. Senior defensive end Jamison Wadley paces the defensive front with six tackles for loss, while sophomore Clarence Jackson leads the team with four pass breakups.