An early look ahead to Kentucky’s next football game:
No. 11 Kentucky (7-3, 5-3 SEC) closes out its 2018 home schedule against Middle Tennessee State (7-3, 6-1 Conference USA) Saturday, Nov. 17, at noon at Kroger Field. The television network that will carry the game has yet to be determined. Coach Rick Stockstill’s Blue Raiders defeated visiting UTEP 48-32 Saturday.
UK and MTSU have met only twice before (2002 and 2008), with the Wildcats winning both.
Most recent meeting
Kentucky defeated Middle Tennessee State 20-14 on Sept. 13, 2008, at Commonwealth Stadium after the Wildcats averted disaster on the game’s final play. Down six, MTSU quarterback Joe Craddock heaved a Hail Mary pass. The ball was batted forward near the UK 15-yard line and caught by Middle Tennessee’s Eldred King — with no one between King and the end zone. Kentucky defensive back Robbie McAtee grabbed King’s foot from behind and wrestled the MTSU WR to the ground at the 1-yard line.
Know your foe
1. Middle Tennessee State football is a family affair. Rick Stockstill, 60, is in his 13th season as head man of the Blue Raiders. He has an 85-75 record at MTSU and has taken Middle to seven bowl games. The Blue Raiders’ quarterback, Brent Stockstill, is the head coach’s son. A 6-foot, 215-pound senior, Brent Stockstill was completing 67.5 percent of his passes entering Saturday’s game at UTEP with 17 touchdowns and five interceptions.
2. Middle Tennessee State has a familiar name to Kentuckians running its offense. Caldwell County native Tony Franklin, 61, the long-time Kentucky high school coach and a UK assistant during the Hal Mumme era (1997-2000) is the MTSU offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Going into Saturday’s contest at UTEP, Franklin’s Air Raid offense was averaging 368.6 yards of total offense, 228 yards passing and 28.4 points a game.
3. UK will be the third SEC team Middle Tennessee State has faced in 2018. The Blue Raiders did not fare well in their first two contests against Southeastern Conference foes. In the season opener, MTSU lost at Vanderbilt 35-7. Two weeks later, the Blue Raiders were crushed at Georgia 49-7.
Mark Story: (859) 231-3230; Twitter: @markcstory