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Stoops: Cats want to focus on taking care of business early against Mocs

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Stoops

Mark Stoops

LEXINGTON, Ky. (KT) — Kentucky gave everything it had last week against Missouri and the Wildcats had little time to rest leading up to Saturday’s contest against UT-Chattanooga.

Earlier this week, Stoops said his squad had a short time to get back to the task at hand before getting into the bulk of the Southeastern Conference schedule. The Mocs (1-1) are coming off a 20-0 shutout of North Alabama last week going into their first-ever meeting against Kentucky.

“We’ve got to rexgroup in a hurry and get ready to play a very good football team,” Stoops said.”This team was picked to win their league (Southern Conference), so you know they’re talented and can do some good things.”

Still, the Kentucky coach has spent a majority of this past week focusing on his own squad, which opened the season with two consecutive victories, including last week’s 35-28 win over Missouri.

Under Stoops, the Wildcats have won 12 straight games over non-conference foes, the third-longest active streak in the nation, behind Minnesota (20) and Iowa (14).

“No matter who we’re playing you’re always going to hear me talk about us,” Stoops said. “We have respect for everybody that we play, but it’s about us and how we play.”

Through the first two weeks, the Wildcats have thrived in Liam Coen’s new offensive scheme. For the first time in school history, Kentucky has compiled more than 500 yards in the first two games of the season.

Overall, the Wildcats rank 12th nationally and No. 4 in the Southeastern Conference in total yards with 541.5 per contest, behind Florida, Ole Miss and Auburn, respectively. 

The Wildcats showed they could still rush the ball, compiling 340 yards on the ground in the win over the Tigers last week.

“I like the consistency of where we’re at,” Stoops said. “We’re not there yet. We want to keep on working, keep on getting the details, but the fact that you can move it that well against an SEC East opponent says a lot.”

Chris Rodriguez, the SEC co-offensive player of the week, rushed for a career-high 206 yards last week and is second in the nation with 165.5 yards per game. He had two fumbles against Missouri, but Stoops is confident his top running back will learn from his past mistakes.

 "He’ll get it corrected,” he said. “I’m confident.”

Gran re-entrance?

Eddie Gran, Kentucky’s offensive coordinator from 2016-20, is expected to return to the team in an administrative role, Kentucky Sports Radio reported Thursday.

Under Gran, the Wildcats finished first in the SEC in rushing let season. 

How to watch

Kentucky’s game will be shown on ESPN+ Saturday and you can sign up for $6.99 a month or $69.99 per year at ESPN.com, ESPNplus.com or on the ESPN App (mobile and connected devices). 

 

Gametracker: Chattanooga at Kentucky, noon, EST.  TV/Radio: ESPN+ and SEC Network+, UK Radio Network

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