A week after Kentucky pulled off a huge win on the road at Florida, they returned home to face FCS opponent Murray State. As expected, Kentucky still seemed to have a hangover from the previous week and looked sluggish.
Coming into the game, Kentucky was a huge favorite over the Racers, and on their first drive of the game, drove the ball 91 yards in 8 plays as Terry Wilson took it 42 yards for a quick TD, making it 7-0 Cats.
Kentucky’s defense forced Murray into three straight punts, and then with a little over 11 minutes left in the first half, Miles Butler came in and made Kentucky’s first field goal attempt of the season, hitting from 40 yards out to make it 10-0.
The defense was able to stand tall and force a turnover on downs to give the ball back to the offense. Wilson led a 64-yard drive capped off with a 7-yard rushing TD by Benny Snell to extend the Kentucky lead to 17-0.
With the half coming to a close, Murray State’s receivers made some big plays for them getting them inside the 10-yard line. However, a penalty and some very questionable time management by the Racers left them with a field goal attempt that was made to send the game to halftime with the Cats up 17-3.
After the break, Kentucky looked much better and seemed to be more energetic.
Kentucky drove down the field but failed to get into the endzone and settled for a field goal. After a defensive stop, the Cats drove down the field again and AJ Rose ran it in from 3 yards out for a TD to push it to 27-3.
Later with the Cats in Murray territory, Kentucky ran a trick play that saw Snell completes a pass to Wilson, who lateraled it back to Zy’Aire Hughes, who took it 49 yards for a TD, putting Kentucky up 34-3.
With the game in check, coach Stoops pulled the starters and put backup QB Gunnar Hoak in. True freshman Allen Dailey Jr came into the game and caught his first two career receptions including a 23-yard TD.
An interception gave the ball back to the offense and Stoops went to the third-string QB Danny Clark, who finished off the drive with a 2-yard TD run as the Cats would go on to take the game 48-10 and improve to 3-0 on the season.
Thoughts on the game
Terry Wilson took care of the ball
Through the first two games, Wilson has had some issues with turnovers. In this one, we needed to see him take care of the ball, and he did just that. He finished 19/25 for 163 yards. He also ran the ball 13 times for 80 yards and a TD.
However, one thing that stands out is he finished the game with zero turnovers. He did have a fumble, but that was when he got hit from Murray State defenders coming from both directions on a pass play that saw Wilson hit as soon as he completed his drop back.
Benny Snell did Benny Snell things
Snell rushed the ball 15 times for 75 yards and inched closer to the touchdown record with a 7-yard TD run. We all know that Benny can do a ton of damage on the ground, but he can also get out in front a do the dirty work. On the TD play by Hughes, Benny got out in front and made a big block down field to allow Hughes to break away and get into the endzone.
Kentucky has the depth it needs
After the game was in hand, Gunnar Hoak came into the game and immediately led a TD drive where he threw the ball well. Also, backup running backs and defensive players came in and made big plays.
In previous years, a big concern was injuries and who would replace certain people. It is a relief to know that we have so many options and can give players rest throughout the game which will decrease the injury risk.
Next week is a huge week for the Cats as Mississippi State comes to town for a night kickoff. The BBN needs to show up in a big way and make the atmosphere an incredible one to help this team come away with a big-time victory.
Now, here’s some postgame notes from UK Athletics:
- UK moves to 3-0 for the second straight season. That is the first time that has been accomplished since the 2007-08 seasons.
- UK has won eight of its last nine regular-season non-conference games.
- UK is 11-3 in its last 14 home games.
- UK is 12-5 in its last 17 regular season games.
- UK is 20-5 in September over the last five seasons.
- With UK scoring 48 points today, the Wildcats have scored at least 38 points in one game for 22 consecutive seasons, since 1997. It is the second-longest such streak in the SEC.LSU has a longer streak, since 1993, but has not scored 38 in a game so far this season.
- UK took the opening kickoff of the game and drove 91 yards for a touchdown. It was the second game in a row that the Wildcats had a 91-yard TD drive on their first possession of the game.
- UK scored on eight of its nine offensive possessions during the game.
- With 245 rushing yards today, UK has 847 for the season. That’s the most for the Wildcats through three games since 1987 (892 that year).
- UK has had at least 427 yards total offense in the first three games, first time that has been accomplished since the first three games of the 2010 season.
- UK has allowed 917 total yards this season, fewest in the first three games since 2010 (773 that year).
- UK has allowed zero points in the third quarter this season, first time to do that in the first three games since 1991.
- UK completed 77.4 percent of its passes today, 24 of 31, the best completion percentage in a game (min. 30 attempts) since 1999 at Indiana.
- Six offensive players scored touchdowns today, first time that has happened since the Kent State game in 2012.
- UK converted 6 of 12 third-downs today, 50 percent. UK has been at least 50 percent on third-down conversions in all three games this season, first time since doing it vs. Arkansas, South Carolina and LSU in 1998.
- UK’s game captains were TE C.J. Conrad, RB Benny Snell, OT George Asafo-Adjei and LB Kash Daniel.
- Sophomore quarterback Terry Wilson completed 19 of 25 for 163 yards, career highs in all three categories.Wilson rushed 13 times for 80 yards and game’s first score a 42-yard run in the first quarter.
- He became the first UK quarterback to win his first three starts since Mike Hartline in 2008.
- Junior running back Benny Snell Jr. rushed 15 times for 75 yards and one touchdown.Has 2,799 career yards, remaining in fifth place on the UK career rushing list.
- Now has 35 touchdowns, two shy of Randall Cobb’s UK career record.
- Was credited with a 43-yard touchdown pass when he flipped a short forward pass to Terry Wilson, who lateraled to Zy’Aire Hughes, who then ran the rest of the way for the TD.
- Sophomore quarterback Gunnar Hoak completed 4 of 5 passes for 77 yards and a touchdown, the second TD pass of his career.
- Senior wide receiver Dorian Baker caught four passes for 25 yards. He now has 1,061 career receiving yards, advancing past Derek Homer (1,052) for 26th place on the UK career receiving yardage list.
- Sophomore wide receiver Lynn Bowden Jr. set career highs with eight receptions for 89 yards.
- Sophomore wide receiver Zy’Aire Hughes scored touchdown on a pass play after receiving a lateral. It was the first time he had touched the ball in college.The play went for 43 yards; Hughes was credited with 49 receiving yards after receiving the lateral behind the line of scrimmage.
- Freshman wide receiver Allen Dailey made his first collegiate catches, two receptions for 38 yards and a touchdown.
- Redshirt freshman quarterback Danny Clark saw his first action and capped a drive with a two-yard touchdown run.
- Freshman running back Chris Rodriguez saw his first action and bulldozed two carries for 43 yards.
- Senior kicker Miles Butler had his first field goal attempts of the season and converted from 40 and 38 yards. He has made all 14 extra points this season.
- Senior safety Mike Edwards led the Wildcats with five tackles, including a five-yard tackle for loss, and added a quarterback hurry.
- Freshman linebacker Jamin Davis made four tackles and claimed his first career interception and added a pass breakup.
- Freshman noseguard Marquan McCall made three tackles, including his first career quarterback sack, and caused a fumble.
- Senior linebacker Jordan Jones had two tackles and a career-high four pass breakups.
- Senior noseguard Tymere Dubose made his first collegiate start.