Kentucky Football: UK - Ole Miss Preview

MurraySports

Kentucky opens the home portion of its 2020 schedule on Saturday when the Lane Kiffin-led Ole Miss Rebels arrive at Kroger Field. Game time is set for 4 pm ET and it will air on the SEC Network.

Ole Miss was one of two Southeastern Conference opponents added to the Wildcats' schedule once it was altered to a 10-game conference-only slate due to Covid-19 concerns. It will be just the second time the two teams have met since 2011 and serve as the front end of back-to-back weeks against teams from the Magnolia State for the Cats. Both squads are coming off season-opening defeats.

The Cats return a deep and veteran squad highlighted by one of the nation's top offensive lines and secondaries, as well as a healthy Terry Wilson at quarterback. The running game is expected to once again be a strength with a stable of backs that goes a minimum of three deep, while one of the program's most heralded recruiting classes ever could also make an immediate impact all over the field.
 
A year ago, the Cats rallied to win six of their final eight games after an onslaught of injuries at the quarterback position led to a 2-3 start to season and re-vamping of the offense with Lynn Bowden Jr. as QB1. Three straight games of at least 400 yards rushing culminated in a school-record 517-yard rushing performance against Louisville in the regular season finale before a thrilling Belk Bowl victory over Virginia Tech.

Cat Scratches: Cats Face Challenge of Stopping Another High-Powered Offense on Saturday

After facing the fast-paced Auburn offense in the season opener, Kentucky will face another challenge this week, as the Cats face Ole Miss and its high-powered attack in the home opener on Saturday.

Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin and his offenses have always been able to put up big numbers and that doesn't look to change as he takes over in Oxford. In Saturday's season opener, the Rebels hung 35 points on Florida in a 51-35 loss. Still, it was an impressive performance by the Ole Miss offense.

How impressive? The Rebels had 613 yards of total offense in the game. Ole Miss had 443 yards passing, including 395 and three touchdowns from quarterback Matt Corral. The Rebels had 170 yards rushing, 86 from Jerrion Early and 81 from Corral.

Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops knows that the Ole Miss offense, under Kiffin's direction, will be another challenge for the UK defense...Read More

SERIES VS. OLE MISS
Ole Miss leads 28-14-1 overall; UK leads 11-10-1 in Lexington
This will be just the second meeting between the schools in the past nine seasons
In 2017, Ole Miss escaped Lexington with a last-minute 37-34 victory. The Rebels scored with five seconds remaining on a seven-yard touchdown pass after UK had taken the lead with 2:14 left on the clock
In that game, Benny Snell Jr. ran for 176 yards and three touchdowns The teams first met in 1944, a 27-7 Kentucky victory
The teams have split the last four meetings dating to 2006

KENTUCKY-OLE MISS CONNECTIONS
Kentucky has three players from state of Mississippi: LS Cade Degraw (Lake Cormorant), DB Brandin Echols (Southaven) and DL Josaih Hayes (Horn Lake).
Ole Miss does not have a player on its roster from Kentucky
UK defensive back Brandin Echols was teammates at Northwest Mississippi CC with current Rebels Brandon Pierre (LB), Hal Northern (DT), Urriah Shephard (RB), Tariqious Tisdale (DL) and Sam Williams (OLB)
UK long snapper Cade Degraw was high school teammates with Ole Miss DB Jalen Jordan
UK freshman defensive lineman Josaih Hayes was high school teammates with Ole Miss linebackers Jakivuan Brown and Brandon Pierre
UK assistant head coach for offense/running backs Eddie Gran was the running backs coach and special team coordinator at Ole Miss from 1995-98, the first SEC stop in his career
Gran also served the same roles on Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin's staff at Tennessee in 2009
UK linebackers coach Jon Sumrall was the linebackers coach at Ole Miss in 2018 before returning to his alma mater

A UK WIN WOULD...
Give the Wildcats their first win over Ole Miss since 2011, a 30-13 victory in Lexington
Improve UK to 12-10-1 all-time vs. Ole Miss in Lexington
Make UK 14-1 in their past 15 home openers and be the fourth straight such victory
Make the Cats 13-3 in their past 16 games overall in Kroger Field
Improve UK's overall record at Kroger Field to 168-135-4 (.554)
Give head coach Mark Stoops a school-record 33 wins in Kroger Field, surpassing Jerry Claiborne's mark of 32 from 1982-89
Give Stoops 45 career victories at UK, putting him just two shy of tying Fran Curci (1973-81) for second on the school's all-time list
Improve Terry Wilson to 13-4 as UK's starting quarterback