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No. 9 Kentucky, Ohio native Stoops face Youngstown State

Kentucky coach Mark Stoops will be going against his hometown school for the first time.
Credit: AP
Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops waits for his senior players to come out during Kentucky's senior day celebration before an NCAA college football game against New Mexico State in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021. Miami (Ohio) plays against Kentucky on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022. (AP Photo/Michael Clubb, File)

KENTUCKY, USA — Ninth-ranked Kentucky hosts Youngstown State of the Football Championship Subdivision on Saturday. 

The Wildcats have their first top-10 ranking since October 2007 and aim to keep their edge after beating then-No. 11 Florida in The Swamp last week.

Kentucky coach Mark Stoops will be going against his hometown school for the first time. 

The Penguins are the first of consecutive nonconference opponents before the Wildcats resume SEC play at Mississippi. The visiting Penguins routed Dayton 49-16 last week and feature 6,900-yard career rusher Jaleel McLaughlin. 

YSU had a school-record six touchdown passes against the Flyers, five by quarterback Demeatric Crenshaw.

Youngstown State (2-0) at No. 9 Kentucky (2-0), Saturday, noon EDT (SEC Network)

Line: No line on FanDuel Sportsbook.

Series: First meeting.

Credit: AP
Kentucky coach Mark Stoops, right, watches his players dance in celebration after defeating Florida in an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, in Gainesville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

WHAT'S AT STAKE

Youngstown State of the Championship Subdivision faces its first Southeastern Conference opponent after a 49-16 rout of Dayton. Fresh off earning its first top-10 ranking since reaching No. 8 in October 2007, Kentucky aims to stay sharp following its SEC road win at Florida. Wildcats coach and Youngstown, Ohio, native Mark Stoops also looks to beat his hometown team.

KEY MATCHUP

Youngstown QB Demeatric Crenshaw vs. Kentucky's defense. The sophomore tied a school single-game record with five touchdown passes against Dayton and the Penguins broke the team mark with another by Mitch Davidson. Crenshaw faces a Wildcats defense that held mobile Florida QB Anthony Richardson to just 14-of-35 passing for 143 yards and intercepted him twice. One of those picks was returned for a 65-yard touchdown.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Youngstown State: TB Jaleel McLaughlin just cracked the top 10 among NCAA career rushers with 6,910 yards, including 332 on 33 carries this season. He has rushed for 2,162 yards and 21 TDs in 19 games with the Penguins after compiling more than 2,400 yards in each of his first two seasons at Division II Notre Dame College. He's the active NCAA rushing leader in attempts, TDs and yards and can jump into seventh place all-time with 75 yards.

Kentucky: DB Keidron Smith has continued his opportunistic play since transferring from Ole Miss. He's force a turnover in each of the first two games. His 65-yard interception return for a touchdown put the Wildcats ahead for good at Florida and follows his fumble return that set up an insurance TD against Miami (Ohio).

FACTS AND FIGURES

Youngstown State WR Bryce Oliver has 34 receptions for 387 yards and 10 TDs in 11 contests after playing three years at Kentucky. ... The Penguins are tied for fifth in FCS run defense, allowing an average of just 53 yards through two games. ... YSU had five sacks in the win over Dayton. ... Stoops last week became Kentucky's winningest coach, surpassing Paul "Bear" Bryant with his 61st victory. ... Kentucky tight ends coach/recruiting coordinator Vince Marrow is also a Youngstown, Ohio, native. ... The Wildcats have yet to net 100 yards rushing so far but outgained Florida 107-32 on the ground in the second half of the comeback victory. ... They've held their last six opponents to 21 points or fewer. ... Kentucky has a 17-game nonconference winning streak.

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