Kentucky Wildcats vs Youngstown State Penguins
This game is more of a nod from Kentucky’s head coach & Youngstown Ohio native Mark Stoops who just surpassed Paul William “Bear” Bryant for most wins as head coach at Kentucky. Youngstown State comes to Lexington as an undefeated team fresh off a 49-16 beat down of Dayton & a 31-14 win against Duquesne in week 1.
The athletic QB for the Penguins has the ability run if needed but has shown the ability to climb the pocket and make accurate throws, the Kentucky defense will be tasked to keep him in the pocket & force his receivers to make tough catches against the stingy DBs that were able to shut down Anthony Richardson & company last week. Crenshaw threw for 5 TDs last week & had a nice option play to the RB who sprinted away from Dayton defenders for a long TD.
The senior RB rushed for 1,139 yards last year on 175 carries for a whopping 6.5-yard average, so he has the skills to put up yards & could catch this Kentucky defense off guard. If Kentucky plans on getting younger players snaps in this game, they need to shut him down early, build a large lead and make Youngstown State throw the ball. McLaughlin has a 200-yard game & a 130-yard game under his belt already this season. He has good vision & explosiveness coming out of the backfield but stays humble contributing his success to his offensive line. If Kentucky isn’t careful & keyed in on him, or has a Florida hangover they could get gashed by him.
The former Ohio State buckeye transferred into Youngstown state after a full collegiate career in Columbus. His brother Malik also a former buckeye is now in the NFL playing for the Dallas Cowboys, so the gene pool is strong & smart for defensive backs. Marcus Hooker is a grown man out there playing in his 5th year of college football. Hooker is physical at the line of scrimmage, but also excels at route recognition, he’s a do it all safety for the Penguins. Tends to play back some on receivers & gives them space, to take advantage of this Kentucky could work the screen game or short passes to get him to creep forward, then go over the top when he’s out of position.
Tomczak is a redshirt freshman for the penguins & their top WR. The 6’1 195-pound WR has a wiry frame, needs time to build bulk, he isn’t overly fast, but he gets open with savvy route running & isn’t afraid to go across the middle. We’ll have to see if the stage of playing an SEC team makes him overthink this early in the season. His uncle Mike Tomczak was a quarterback in the NFL including time with the Superbowl champion Chicago Bears in 1985.
I think Kentucky gets up early in this one & lets some reserves get playing time, however I don’t think Mark Stoops runs up the score much being from Youngstown. I look for the wildcats to give a heavy dose of the running game including quite a bit of La’Vell Wright & Michael Drennen II who converted from WR to RB. The defense should be able to hold up against the talent that Youngstown state possesses enough to get a big win at Kroger field on Saturday. My only concern is early kickoff (noon on the SEC network) and the possibility of a big win hangover after going down to the swamp & beating then ranked 12th Florida Gators.