#60 Kentucky Football 2015 Preview

Kentucky Wildcats

Overall Rank: #60
#13 SEC

Kentucky Team Page#60 Kentucky Football 2015 PreviewBuy Kentucky Football Tickets

Up to this point, the Mike Stoops era has built up plenty of excitement about the Kentucky football program. Now, in year three under Coach Stoops, the bar has been raised and the expectation is to get bowl eligible. Kentucky is also christening a newly renovated Commonwealth Stadium, so it is going to be critical for the Wildcat program to continue its upward trajectory.

2014 Record: 5-7, 2-6
2014 Bowl: None
Coach: Mark Stoops (7-17, 7-17 overall)

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Stanley Williams, RB, 486 yards
Passing: Patrick Towles, QB, 2,718 yards
Receiving: Ryan Timmons, WR, 536 yards
Tackles: Josh Forrest, LB, 110
Sacks: Blake McClain, LB, 2.0
Interceptions: A.J. Stamps, CB, 4

Other Key Returnees: WR Garrett Johnson, K Austin MacGinnis, P Landon Foster, CB Fred Tiller

Key Losses: RB Braylon Heard, WR Demarco Robinson, WR Javess Blue, DE Alvin Dupree, DE Za’Darius Smith

Quarterback Patrick Towles returns in 2015 and will be looking to elevate his passing stats from 2,718 yards under new offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson. Towles is going to be pushed by Drew Barker for playing time as both guys combined for five touchdowns in the spring game. Stanley Boom Williams is going to be a prime candidate to be one of the best all-purpose running backs in the SEC. Williams had 1,159 all-purpose yards last season and will thrive in this creative offense that coach Dawson will be running this season. The receiver corps will be deep and talented, led by Ryan Timmons. Freshman tight end C.J. Conrad could play into the mix right away after an impressive spring practice as an early enrollee.

Stopping the run was an Achillies heel for Kentucky. They allowed just over 190 yards per game on the ground. The road to improving against the run is only going to be that much more difficult as Bud Dupree and Za'Darius Smith are gone at defensive end. The Wildcats are going to have to get more pressure on the quarterback and force more turnovers somehow to get off the field so the offense can go on the attack. Closing out games is another weakness for Kentucky as they let Florida off the hook in Gainesville. That loss set the tone for the remainder of the season and the Wildcats never recovered.

The Bottom Line:
The schedule, while loaded with home games, is not going to be easy. Louisiana-Lafayette opens the new Commonwealth Stadium on September 5th. The Ragin Cajuns have won at least nine games in every season under Mark Hudspeth. So it is going to be paramount for the Wildcats to win the opener before diving into SEC play at South Carolina on September 12th. Other swing games at home will be against Missouri on September 26th and Auburn on October 15th in front of a national television audience. Overall, the Wildcat program is going the right direction, but with an improved SEC East Division, it is going to be a tall task to get to six wins and bowl eligibility. The schedule just seems to scream 5-7 once again even though the play on the field will be better.

Projected Bowl: None

2014 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 153.2 (77th in nation, 11th in conference)
Passing Offense: 231.2 (63, 6)
Total Offense: 384.3 (79, 10)
Scoring Offense: 29.2 (60, 9)
Rushing Defense: 191.2 (89, 12)
Pass Defense: 215.8 (43, 8)
Total Defense: 406.9 (75, 11)
Scoring Defense: 31.3 (93, 13)
Turnover Margin: 0.67 (19, 2)
Sacks: 2.25 (52, 6)
Sacks Allowed: 2.83 (101, 13)


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