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Opponent Breakdown: Eastern Kentucky Defense

EKU was outgained last week but utilized turnovers to help win the game.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 12 Eastern Kentucky at West Virginia Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Eastern Kentucky will come to Louisville this week with the hopes of improving on their overall defensive performance from last week. The Colonels were outgained but a good amount last week but they were able to keep Western Carolina from running away with the game. EKU also did a good job of forcing WCU to kick field goals instead of scoring touchdowns.

The defensive front for EKU has some veteran players as well as a couple of SEC transfers. The group didn’t do much to stop the run last week as WCU averaged 5.9 yards per carry and only lost 7 total yards on the day. The Colonels run a 4-3/3-4 hybrid type of defense with 3 down linemen and an edge player typically standing up on the end.

Matthew Jackson and Kyle Bailey are the key players for the defense. Jackson led the team in tackles, sacks, and tackles for loss last season and he’s off to a good start this year with 11 tackles last week. Bailey is a transfer from Western Kentucky where he started for two seasons and put up over 100 tackles in 2019. These guys are legit players who will likely make a play or two on Saturday.

Roy Baker made the biggest play for the defense last week with an interception and 78-yard return. At 6-2/200, he is a big corner with good length. He is also another one of the transfers EKU got from a FBS school after playing at Buffalo. He and John Blunt ma the corner spots along with Josh Hayes who is a Purdue transfer. Lousiville should have an opportunity to get the passing game going against this group.

The Safety spots are manned by veteran players. Josepsh Sayles and Jaden Woods didn’t show great speed from what I saw but both have been with EKU for a while and seemed to be in the right spots all the time. How they handle UofL’s slot receivers will be interesting. Louisville has some speed there and they may look to focus the passing attack there.