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Bob Dixon

Agency Manager


Middlesboro, KY 40965


Go Big Blue!

JOE COX: After Crazy 2020 season, UK Starting 2021 Nice & Easy With Louisiana Monroe

Who doesn’t like a cupcake? When it comes to opening college football, almost everybody enjoys one. Sure, there’s the occasional Georgia/Clemson matchup. But for most SEC schools, Week 1 is a Sara Lee special. Kentucky is no exception, as the Wildcats will look to transition into the Liam Coen era with an easy opener. How will it go? Looks to be pretty solid.

Louisiana Monroe was 0-10 last year, and after losing to UTEP in week 3 as a 9.5-point favorite, they were underdogs in every game. Justifiably so, as this team averaged 16.3 points per game and allowed 42 points per game. ULM played one ranked team and lost by 50. Granted, new head coach Terry Bowden (brother of long-ago UK offensive coordinator Tommy Bowden) can’t go anywhere but up, and he brought former WVU and Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez to be his offensive coordinator.

Chris Rodriguez Jr. (UK Athletics Photo)

Kentucky is on perhaps the most solid ground in memory. Mark Stoops’ tenure is the second longest in the SEC and his five straight bowl games ties a program record. New offensive coordinator Liam Coen is slated to add passing punch to the UK scheme, and given a solid defense and a corps of playmakers like Chris Rodriguez Jr., Josh Ali, and Nebraska transfer Wan’Dale Robinson, Kentucky is in solid shape.


Kentucky will look to establish new QB Will Levis and simultaneously keep the punishing ground game of the past few seasons active. Rodriguez should be able to gain plenty of early yards, and look for UK to spread the ball around in the air, with walk-on receiver Rashaan Lewis (son of Ray), a candidate to surprise early. Given that ULM rushed for 76 yards per game last year, one would imagine they’ll look to pass. They don’t return anybody with more than 23 receptions, so not entirely sure who they’ll go at, but there’s little reason for Kentucky’s defense to be too concerned.


Kentucky will want to get after the QB in 2021, after managing just 14 sacks last season. Meanwhile, ULM allowed 27 sacks and has a relatively inexperienced offensive line. UK’s secondary depth should allow for some plays on the ball as well, and it’ll be interesting to see Ole Miss transfer Jacquez Jones and freshman Trevin Wallace at linebacker. And ULM will likely be trying to hold on for life against UK’s skill players. Army rushed for 439 yards against ULM last year without the hint of a passing game (1-for-5 passing in that game for 29 yards), so Kentucky should be able to pick its poison.

Prediction: UK 49, ULM 10

Around the SEC:

Here’s my weekly shot at projecting the rest of the league:

Alabama 42, Miami 24

Texas A&M 49, Kent State 3

LSU 34, UCLA 27

Ole Miss 45, Louisville 21

Auburn 38, Akron 14

Mississippi State 35, Louisiana Tech 21

Arkansas 42, Rice 10

Clemson 31, Georgia 21

Florida 52, Florida Atlantic 17

Missouri 41, Central Michigan 20

South Carolina 38, Eastern Illinois 7

Tennessee 35, Bowling Green 17

Vanderbilt 42, ETSU 7

Joe Cox is contributing editor for Magazine. He grew up in Letcher County and Bell County and has written or co-written nine books. His most recent, "A Fine Team Man: Jackie Robinson and the Lives He Changed," was released in February 2019 and can be ordered on Amazon or at many local bookstores. Joe is an attorney and lives in Logan County with his wife and children. You can reach him at


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