After an incredibly slow start and despite multiple turnovers by the offense, the Kentucky Wildcats showed glimpses of the team fans hoped they would be in their season opener on Saturday. The Wildcats outlasted the Central Michigan Chippewas and came away with a 35-20 victory.
Kentucky’s first touchdown of the season came from an unlikely source as AJ Rose scampered for a 55 yard rush in the first quarter to give Kentucky their first lead of the season at 7-3.
Terry Wilson had an atrocious debut with 3 turnovers in the first half. He lost one fumble and threw two interceptions that led to 10 points for Central Michigan. After his last interception, he left the game in the second quarter with a left shoulder injury and was replaced by Gunnar Hoak.
Hoak immediately led a touchdown drive in the final minute of the first half, giving David Bouvier Kentucky’s first receiving touchdown of the season. Wilson returned in the middle of the third quarter, shortly before Bouvier left after taking a hit to the head that resulted in a targeting penalty. Wilson looked like a different player in the second half, leading the offense on multiple scoring drives to put the game out of reach.
In addition to the multiple turnovers, the Wildcats had several brutal penalties, including a targeting call resulting in the ejection of defensive back Chris Westry. Fumbles by Terry Wilson and Lynn Bowden in the first half put Kentucky in the hole early as they trailed 17-7 before charging back and cruising to victory.
Both Rose and Snell eclipsed the 100 yard mark for the game as Kentucky went primarily to the ground in the second half. Each scored two touchdowns to lead the offensive charge and potentially set the stage for Kentucky’s offensive game plans moving forward.
Based on how ugly the offense was, the MVP should probably come from the defensive side of the ball. Senior Josh Allen was all over the field today. He had 10 tackles, 1 sack, 1 QB hurry and 3 tackles for loss.
Josh Allen gets held but still gets to the quarterback. pic.twitter.com/KRgmkZkobx— Scott Charlton (@Scott_Charlton) September 1, 2018
Although Central Michigan scored 20 points, only one touchdown was a result of a sustained offense drive. Even that touchdown was the result of a major penalty. So despite the numbers, the defense actually played really well, and Allen was the leader of that group, statistically and otherwise.
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