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Keith Taylor: Stoops wants a ‘good, clean, hard-fought’ game against instate foe EKU


 Kentucky tight end C.J. Conrad scores his first collegiate touchdown in the Wildcats’ 21-13 win over Missouri last week. The Wildcats host Eastern Kentucky Saturday at Commonwealth Stadium (Photo by Tammie Brown)

Kentucky tight end C.J. Conrad scores his first collegiate touchdown in the Wildcats’ 21-13 win over Missouri last week. The Wildcats host Eastern Kentucky Saturday at Commonwealth Stadium (Photo by Tammie Brown)

 
Mark Stoops is focused on football and not what transpired off the field between members of his team and Eastern Kentucky University. The Kentucky coach wants no part of any confrontations Saturday at Commonwealth Stadium.
 
“Once the game starts, I will have zero tolerance (for confrontations),” Stoops said. “If I see any of that stuff, then they are not going to play. I am not going to deal with that stuff. That looks classless and looks sloppy, and we will not play that way.”

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Separated by less than 30 miles from each other, the two foes have had very little history on the field, with the Wildcats (3-1) winning all three games, including a 37-12 victory in the most recent meeting six years ago. The two teams also played in 2007, a 51-10 win by the Wildcats, and the first meeting came in 1998, with Kentucky posting a 52-7 victory.
 
Even though they’re not traditional rivals on the field, a confrontation in a Richmond bar and a dorm lobby at Eastern earlier this year displayed tensions that existed between players from both teams.
 
Kentucky’s Drew Barker, Dorian Baker and former Wildcat Tymere Dubose were involved in altercations with Eastern’s Colton Scurry and Patrick Gaffree. Scurry and Gaffree were suspended by EKU indefinitely, but eventually reinstated by the university.
 
Stoops would like nothing better than a good display of sportsmanship between the teams in the trenches.
 
“We want to play a good, clean, hard-fought football game,” Stoops said. “I have respect for (Eastern). This could be a good thing for the state and a good thing for both programs. We want a good game.”
 

imgres
Eastern Kentucky
at Kentucky
When: Saturday,
7:30 p.m.
Records: Kentucky 3-1, EKU 2-1
TV/Radio: SEC Network; 98.1 WBUL

The Colonels (2-1) are coming off a 51-13 rout of Austin Peay in their Ohio Valley Conference opener, but had little time to enjoy the victory after redshirt freshman defensive lineman Joseph “Joey” A. Kraemer was killed in an automobile accident last weekend in Richmond. The death of Kraemer, a transfer from UTEP, shattered the players and coaching staff.
 
“Joey wasn’t here with us very long, but a lot of our guys really connected with him pretty easily when he got here,” Eastern Kentucky coach Dean Hood said. “He was such a hard worker, a tough kid, always had a team-first mentality, always had a smile on his face (and) a lot of our guys got close with him in a hurry.”
 
Earlier this week, Hood received a phone call from Stoops and an email from Louisville coach Bobby Petrino offering their condolences.
 
“I know they have (had) some distractions this week in dealing with that tragedy,” Stoops said. “I just feel bad for them and their program.”
 
Hood welcomed the support from both coaches and added his team is healing as best they can under the circumstances.
 
“We have a lot of people hurting, but we’re locked in arms and working through all those things that a situation like this brings up,” Hood said.
 
Kentucky also has dealt with distractions of its own as running back Stanley “Boom”
 Williams spent the early part of the week clearing up “personal issues.” Williams wasn’t at practice Tuesday, but returned Wednesday. Williams is listed No. 2 on the depth chart behind JoJo Kemp, who will start against the Colonels.
 
The Wildcats rallied for a 21-13 win over Missouri last weekend, moving Kentucky within three games of becoming bowl eligible with eight contests remaining in the season. Stoops is hoping to give his backups a chance to compete Saturday, including backup quarterback Drew Barker.
 
“I would love to play him in this game, definitely, and he will play in this game,” Stoops said. “I have been wanting to do that no matter what the game is, just force myself like we have talked about.”
 


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