Sidelines with John Clay

Kentucky football podcast: Southern Miss preview

It’s football time in the Bluegrass, though Kentucky starts the 2017 campaign on the road. Mark Stoops’ team plays at Southern Mississippi at 4 p.m. ET on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017.
It’s football time in the Bluegrass, though Kentucky starts the 2017 campaign on the road. Mark Stoops’ team plays at Southern Mississippi at 4 p.m. ET on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017.

Kentucky opens its 2017 football season on the road Saturday, traveling to Hattiesburg, Mississippi to play Southern Miss, the same team that spoiled the Cats’ 2016 opener in Lexington.

UK offensive coordinator Eddie Gran talks about the Southern Miss defense. And UK defensive coordinator Matt House talks about Southern Miss running back Ito Smith, who rushed for 173 yards in USM’s 44-35 win at Kentucky last season.

For a scouting report on the Golden Eagles, I talked with Patrick Magee of the Biloxi Sun-Herald. Patrick talked about Southern Miss’ unsettled situation at quarterback. He also discussed offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson, the fomer UK OC now in his second year with the Golden Eagles. Patrick also said UK fans should pay attention to the Southern Miss defense, which is expected to be improved over last season.

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Kentucky-Southern Miss statistical comparisons

Category

Kentucky

So Miss

Scoring offense

30.3

32.8

Scoring offense rank

58

41

Total offense

420.2

472.8

Total offense rank

61

21

Rushing offense

234.2

174.5

Rushing offense rank

20

62

Pass efficiency

186.1

139.1

Pass efficiency rank

70

38

Scoring defense

31.3

29.5

Scoring defense rank

86

74

Total defense

434.2

324.8

Total defense rank

85

15

Rushing defense

228.2

149.9

Rushing defense rank

110

46

Pass efficiency defense

131.9

129.4

Pass efficiency defense rank

74

64

Third-down offense

39.1

40.9

Third-down offense rank

78

61

Third-down defense

44.4

24.0

Third-down defense rank

106

2

Net punting

34.6

40.5

Net punting rank

115

12

Penalty yards per game

46.5

64.5

Penalty yards per game rank

36

109

Turnover margin

-0.5

-1.3

Turnover margin rank

107

125

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