Following back-to-back beatdowns to Georgia and Tennessee, Kentucky returned to their home field for the final time of their 2018 season to host the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders. The Wildcats honored 16 seniors before kick-off and a specific player made his unexpected season debut. In a 34-23 win, here’s four things we learned.
Josh Paschal Returns
After being sidelined for 11 weeks due to a diagnosis & recovery from melanoma skin cancer, sophomore edge rusher Josh Paschal made his return to game-action. Paschal was spotted warming up in uniform before kick-off and had his name released in the starting lineups.
Paschal played in limited snaps but made a key tackle in the first half to prevent a Blue Raiders third-down conversion.
Regardless of how much he did, this was one of the best moments of the season, as Paschal has fought off cancer and returned to the football field.
Mike Edwards Shines
It didn’t take long for All-SEC safety Mike Edwards to make his mark on his senior day. In fact, it took Edwards less than three minutes to force a fumble, record an interception and his 300th tackle while also scoring a touchdown.
He started with a pick-six on Middle Tennessee’s first drive of the game and followed that up with his 300th career tackle and then forcing a fumble. The interception was the 10th of his career, tying him for fourth place in program history.
Edwards finished the game with a final line of: 12 tackles, two tackles for loss, an INT & FF
Benny Snell Finds His Groove
Snell’s assertion into the offense began on team’s first drive, amounting for 42 of Kentucky’s 50 yards as well as the drive’s touchdown. On the following drive, Snell added 35 more yards en route to setting up Miles Butler for a 38-yard field goal.
As the first half moved along, AJ Rose was able to give Snell a rest. Snell finished the first half with 83 yards on 15 carries.
In the second half, however, Snell was handed the rock only eleven times to gain 33 yards with a touchdown.
Snell finished what was most likely his final home game with 26 carries for 116 yards and two touchdowns.
Nine Wins Look Promising
With Louisville recently firing their head coach, Bobby Petrino, the school’s drama didn’t appear that it could get any worse. However, on Saturday morning, news was released in regards to quarterback Jawon Pass being suspended for the first quarter of the Cardinals’ game against NC State.
The distractions are adding up 75 miles west of Lexington, while the Wildcats rediscovered their mojo on Saturday. With Lexington’s team having much more to play for, expect Kentucky to come out swinging in one of the better in-state rivalries the sport has to offer.
Kick-off for the Wildcats’ regular season finale against the Cardinals is set for 7 P.M. EDT next Saturday.