The Kentucky Wildcats hosted the Murray State Racers in their third game of the 2018 season on Saturday at Kroger Field.
Favored by 43 points, Kentucky cruised to a 48-10 victory and narrowly missed the cover thanks to a Murray State touchdown with 30 seconds left. While some parts weren't pretty, a win is a win for the Wildcats as they move on to what will be their biggest game of the season when they host Mississippi State next Saturday.
But first, here are four things we learned from Kentucky’s win over Murray State.
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Head coach Mark Stoops said earlier in the week he wanted to get his younger guys quite a few reps in Saturday’s game. Stoops stayed true to his word, getting players like Isaiah Epps and Josh Ali catches in the first half. Backup slot receiver Clevan Thomas also had a catch. Even true freshman Allen Dailey had a touchdown grab in the fourth quarter.
An offensive surprise was CJ Conrad getting the first target, catch and first down of the game. A 13-yard gain on the first play from scrimmage topped his receiving total from each of the first two games this season.
Benny Snell also received a well-deserved, light workload. He carried the rock 27 times last week at Florida, compared to just 15 times on Saturday. AJ Rose then dominated the snaps, rushing five times for 19 yards and a touchdown. Sihiem King got some run late and gained 26 yards on six carries.
Kentucky’s defense allowed just three points in the first half but struggled to get off the field on third down. Their biggest errors came in the final moments of the first half, giving up 26 yards on third & long and immediately giving up 30 more to set up Murray State for their field goal conversion.
Chris Westry, who has struggled to start his senior season, held true to his recent performances with an unforced pass-interference penalty on third & long.
Kentucky’s offensive line had their best performance in years last Saturday against Florida. Against a small Murray State defensive front, they were unusually inefficient. Kentucky allowed far too many quarterback hurries and sacks to an FCS team.
A broken pocket didn’t seem to affect Wilson, as he still completed 19/25 passes for 163 yards. He also was able to use his legs & move the chains, but that likely won’t come as easy next week against a much more talented Mississippi State front-seven.
Lynn Bowden Shines
Bowden’s breakout game against the Gators last weekend was echoed by a strong performance on Saturday, specifically his chemistry with Wilson. Bowden hauled in eight balls for 89 yards, with no other player catching more than four for 25 yards.
As the season progresses and the opposition strengthens, Wilson’s trust in Bowden will not only give Kentucky a security blanket but also a dynamic weapon who is getting a fair share of looks in the passing game.
Kentucky certainly had their hangover game, with now being the time to re-flip the switch in preparation for the Bulldogs next Saturday.
Now, let’s discuss!