- Associated Press - Friday, October 10, 2014

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky’s sole mission after its biggest win under coach Mark Stoops is avoiding a letdown.

Though the euphoria has subsided from last week’s stunning upset of South Carolina, the Wildcats (4-1) look to maintain their roll against nonconference opponent Louisiana-Monroe (3-2) on Saturday. A victory puts Kentucky within a win of becoming bowl eligible, a once-lofty goal that’s suddenly within reach.

The Wildcats’ face a Warhawks team that beat them in the 1994 series opener at Commonwealth Stadium. Kentucky has won the last three matchups since then but will try not to look ahead to challenging Southeastern Conference games against LSU and No. 3 Mississippi State.

Knowing that a loss could derail some of their goals has kept the Wildcats grounded this week.

“A letdown isn’t a concern for us, but you don’t want to get your heads up too high and feel like you’re untouchable,” Kentucky junior linebacker Khalid Henderson said. “Football will humble you in a second, so you’ve got to keep your guard up at all times. The moment you put your head down is the moment someone is going to check you.”

ULM, on the other hand, aims to bounce back from last week’s 28-14 Sun Belt Conference loss at Arkansas State, a game that was scoreless at halftime. The Warhawks were within a touchdown of ASU early in the fourth quarter before allowing two quick scores that made the difference.

While ULM’s defense has been opportunistic, coach Todd Berry has lamented his offense’s failure to take advantage of its chances. Turnovers and penalties have been the culprits, not to mention injuries that have thrust new faces into unfamiliar situations.

To that end Berry hopes that simplifying things helps his offense establish some consistency and put points on the board.

“We are doing way too much right now,” the coach said this week without being specific. “I think that’s hurting our execution significantly, because we are asking some guys that maybe haven’t been in the program as long to maybe function in some things that they really haven’t had any historical intellect about. They don’t have anything that they can draw back on.”

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Here are some other things to watch on Saturday:

BEWARE OF BUD: Already the SEC’s active career sacks leader with 17.5, Kentucky senior defensive end Alvin “Bud” Dupree recorded his first career touchdown, a 6-yard interception return off a deflected pass for the game-winning score in an upset of South Carolina. He’s the Wildcats’ sixth-leading tackler with 23, including three for loss with 1.5 sacks.

WARHAWKS ARE BALL HAWKS: ULM has forced at least one turnover in 31 straight games, the nation’s longest active streak. That includes three takeaways in last week’s loss at Arkansas State, making the Warhawks plus-3 this season.

WILDCAT AT WORK: Kentucky’s wish to throw the ball early, often and deep in the Air Raid scheme has taken a temporary backseat to the ground game’s success in the Wildcat formation. Running primarily from direct snaps last week against South Carolina, the Wildcats scored all five offensive touchdowns as a result and got 131 yards and three touchdowns from sophomore back Jojo Kemp. He also set up a flea flicker-style play resulting in Patrick Towles’ 48-yard TD pass for a go-ahead touchdown.

NO CUPCAKES: ULM’s season-opening win over Wake Forest was its third straight against a Power 5 conference school in as many years. The Warhawks are one of two FBS teams playing its entire non-conference schedule against Power 5 opponents, with Kentucky being the third of four this season. They’re 1-1 so far and face Texas A&M; on Nov. 1.

BACK IN THE FOLD: Kentucky running back Stanley “Boom” Williams and fellow freshman receiver Dorian Baker were reinstated this week from suspensions for last week’s campus incident involving shots fired from an air pistol. Williams led Kentucky in all-purpose yards before being disciplined and stands just 67 behind current leader Demarco Robinson (349) in fifth place.

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