The Opponent-What do we know about the Eastern Kentucky Colonels?
We know that when they were in Nippert two years ago they got taken behind the woodshed 31-0 by Dantonio’s run happy offense. We know they are a NCAA Football Championship Subdivision program (formerly known as I-AA) located in Richmond, Kentucky.
And we know they have a new head coach that has previously been the defensive coordinator at Wake Forest.
We also know the Colonels finished last season posting a 9-3 record.
Interesting Notes about EKU: The Colonels lost 20 seniors from last year’s squad including 13 starters. Their best player on offense is their senior QB Allan Holland who was the Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year. They have 5 starters returning on offense and 4 starters returning on defense. Their strength is going to be their defense with their best players being DE Chris Coy (team sack leader) and safeties Zach Denton and Brandon Gathof who had five interceptions between them.
The Intangibles: The Colonels are no Appalachian State but they can be just as dangerous if the Bearcats don’t establish early dominance and control. If Holland is given time in the pocket, he may be able to complete some passes early and get some early confidence. The Bearcats must hit Holland early and often and make him very uncomfortable so that he cannot set his feet. Shutting down any running game of EKU will also make it easier to put pressure on Holland and make the Colonels one-dimensional. On offense, the Bearcats need to score early and often while remaining sharp committing minimal if any mistakes. BK is not going to show too much to Oklahoma in this game so expect him to shorten the playbook and try to perfect his base plays in the offense.
Keys to the game: Will Dustin Grutza be efficient? The answer must be yes because the Cats need his leadership to come through to take their mind off of Ben Mauk. Dustin must manage the game and not make mistakes while getting his timing down with the wide receivers. If Grutza can do what BK wants him to do, this will be an offensive explosion. If he struggles, this game will be at least won by two touchdowns.
Prediction: C’mon, this is EKU! The Cats won’t be cocky and overconfident because BK won’t let them. This team is hungry and is looking to pick up where they left off in Birmingham and EKU is going to be a tune-up for the Oklahoma game. The hope is that the Cats can get out of this game with no injuries and look sharp at the same time giving some young players some vital game experience. UC wins this one going away 42-9.
Next Opponent- At #4 Oklahoma