An early look ahead to the Kentucky Wildcats’ next football game:
The game will kick off at 7:30 p.m. (EDT) and be telecast by ESPNU.
Coach Joe Moorhead’s Zips defeated Morgan State 24-21 Saturday night in Akron’s 2023 home opener.
Next Saturday will be only the second meeting all-time between the Wildcats and the Zips.
UK leads the series with Akron 1-0.
UK coach Mark Stoops has never faced the Zips.
Akron coach Joe Moorhead went 1-1 against Kentucky in his two seasons, 2018 and 2019, leading the Mississippi State Bulldogs program.
Most recent meeting
Kentucky running back Derrick Locke ran for 166 yards and two touchdowns to lead Kentucky to a 47-10 pasting of Akron on Sept. 18, 2010, at the venue then known as Commonwealth Stadium.
UK quarterback Mike Hartline completed 21 of 29 passes for 250 yards and two TDs. The victory over Akron made then-Kentucky head man Joker Phillips the first UK coach to start his first season 3-0 since Paul “Bear” Bryant in 1946.
Know your foe
1. In his two seasons as Mississippi State head man, Akron Coach Joe Moorhead split two contests vs. Kentucky. Moorhead’s No. 14 Bulldogs absorbed a 28-7 thrashing from Benny Snell, Josh Allen and UK in 2018 in Lexington.
However, the following year, Moorhead and MSU put it to UK 28-13 in Starkville as dual-threat quarterback Garrett Schrader ran for 125 yards and threw for 180.
After taking on a massive rebuilding job at Akron, Moorhead is 3-11 so far as the leader of the Zips.
2. Former Kentucky tight end Nik Ognenovic is in his third season in the Akron program. In his two prior seasons with the Zips, the 6-5, 255-pound redshirt junior has caught two passes total with one touchdown reception.
3. In its 2023 season opener, Akron built a 21-7 lead at Temple, only to see the Owls rally for a 24-21 win.
DJ Irons, the Zips’ redshirt senior quarterback, completed 17 of 29 passes for 205 yards and two touchdowns with an interception in the loss at Temple. Irons hit Lorenzo Lingard with a 77-yard TD pass on the game’s second play. Akron struggled to run the ball vs. Temple, gaining only 77 rushing yards on 28 attempts.
On Saturday night against Morgan State, Akron switched QBs, primarily using Albany transfer Jeff Undercuffler. A 6-foot-5, 240-pound redshirt senior, Undercuffler completed 17-of-25 passes for 201 yards and a touchdown but also threw three interceptions.
The final of Undercuffler’s three picks came in the Morgan State end zone with 1:11 left in the game and Akron down 21-17.
However, just inside the final minute, Akron’s CJ Nunnally forced a Morgan State fumble and Bryan McCoy “scooped and scored” from 13 yards out with 52 seconds left to give the Zips a victory.
The win improved Akron’s overall record to 10-46 since 2018.
In what will be their 10th all-time meeting with a Southeastern Conference opponent, the Zips will be seeking their first victory over an SEC team against Kentucky.