When: 4 p.m., Saturday
Where: Kroger Field (formerly Commonwealth Stadium)
Radio: WLAP-AM 630, WBUL-FM 98.1, XM Channel 191, Sirius Channel 138
Records: Kentucky 3-1 (1-1 SEC), Eastern Michigan 2-1 (0-1 MAC)
Series: First meeting
Line: Kentucky is favored by 14 1/2 points
The story line
Coming off a crushing, 28-27 come-from-ahead loss to Florida, Kentucky tries to avert a post-Gators letdown/hangover against the visitors from the Mid-American Conference. Once considered one of the worst programs in the FBS, Eastern Michigan has won nine of its last 16 games under Coach Chris Creighton (a former head man at Ottawa University in Kansas, UK AD Mitch Barnhart’s alma mater) and already has a win over a power-five conference foe (16-13 at Rutgers) this year.
On the spot
Mark Stoops. Last week, communication problems on defense led to two Florida receivers who were uncovered at the line of scrimmage catching touchdown passes. Offensively, many UK fans believed the Cats got too conservative and “played not to lose” with a second-half lead over the Gators rather than going for the jugular. Given that, the last thing Stoops needs this week is for the Wildcats to struggle with — or, heaven forbid, lose to — a MAC foe. In three prior meetings against SEC opponents, EMU has never given up fewer than 44 points.
The big threat
Senior quarterback Brogan Roback is climbing up the all-time Eastern Michigan passing records. The 6-foot-3, 218-pound product of Maumee, Ohio, is third in school history in passing yards (6,561) and touchdowns (40) and fourth all-time in pass completions (569) and total yards (6,828). Over his EMU career, Roback has led five game-winning drives. In the win at Rutgers, he completed 19 of 36 passes for 260 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions.
Is depressed. With their team up 27-14 on Florida in the fourth quarter, UK fans could all but taste the end of the embarrassing 30-game losing streak to the Gators. Instead, Florida rallied and created another chapter in Kentucky’s tale of football heartache and woe. Beating a Mid-American Conference foe won’t do much to alleviate fan frustration. Losing, however, would be calamitous.