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Bob Dixon

Agency Manager


Middlesboro, KY 40965


Go Big Blue!

JOE COX: Fresh Off Record-Setting Week, Stoops Face Hometown School Youngstown State

Saturday’s Kentucky football game will be incredibly special. Probably not so much for UK fans or the television-viewing audience, as it’s likely to be not particularly competitive. But for Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops, fresh off the week that saw him pass Bear Bryant as UK’s all-time coaching leader in victories, it’s a return to his roots.

Stoops, part of a football family of coaches, grew up in Youngstown. In fact, his father, Ron, was a high school coach in Youngstown for 30 years before his sudden death following a heart attack. It was also, of course, home for Mark Stoops’ brother, Mike, formerly a head coach, and now coaching under his younger brother at UK.

Youngstown is also special to Vince Marrow, the recruiting ace who is the lone assistant coach who has spanned Stoops’s entire UK career. Marrow also grew up in Youngstown and played his high school football at Cardinal Mooney, the same school the Stoops sons attended and where Ron coached.

Following his ascension to the top of the UK coaching ladder, this is a great time for Mark Stoops to get together with family and friends, and he’s jokingly suggested that UK athletics director Mitch Barnhart might not be prepared for all the folks from Youngstown who will be descending on UK as Mark Stoops plays host.

On the field?

Kentucky figures to have some measure of emotional letdown off the impressive 26-16 win over Florida. Youngstown State has opened 2-0, albeit at the FCS level. Their 6.5 yards per carry is impressive, but it’s fair to wonder how that will translate against an SEC defense.

Given UK’s emotional state, the Wildcats might be a bit spotty this week. It should be good to see some of UK’s receiving depth get a few shots on the field—particularly freshman Barion Brown, who was so impressive in Week 1 against Miami of Ohio, but seemed a bit lost at Florida.

This game could be competitive, but the guess here is that it feels a lot like Week 1—Kentucky plays a sluggish first half and then opens up in the third quarter for an easy win.

UK 38, Youngstown State 14

Other SEC Predictions:

Georgia 45, South Carolina 7

Missouri 38, Abilene Christian 7

Ole Miss 34, Georgia Tech 14

Penn State 28, Auburn 24

Vanderbilt 31, Northern Illinois 28

Alabama 52, UL-Monroe 0

LSU 34, Mississippi State 31

Arkansas 45, Missouri State 3

Tennessee 52, Akron 6

Florida 34, South Florida 13

Miami 29, Texas A&M 28

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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