Despite an atrocious four turnovers, Kentucky held off the Central Michigan to win their first game of the season, 35-20. After allowing 20 points in the first half, Kentucky kept Central Michigan scoreless for the rest of the game.
While Kentucky did win the game, the team made a ton of mistakes. Against an inferior opponent, they were able to recover. They’ll have to really straighten things out as they head down to face Florida in The Swamp.
Kentucky’s rushing attack stood out as the biggest positive for the offense. Even though Snell was sick with a virus, he was extremely physical with the ball in his hands. He led the team with 125 yards on 20 carries for 2 touchdowns.
Similar to the combo of Snell and Boom Williams from a few years ago, AJ Rose was the lightning to Snell’s thunder. Rose showed a ton of speed on the outside. He broke out for a 55-yard touchdown run for Kentucky’s first score. He finished with 104 yards on 8 carries for 2 touchdowns.
Josh Allen, Jordan Jones and the rest of the defense
The final score is definitely misleading for how well the defense played. 13 of the 20 points allowed were all set up by Kentucky turnovers on their own side of the field. The defense stifled the Central Michigan offense in the 2nd half.
Chris Westry made the worst play of the game for the defense. On 3rd and 11, Westry hit helmet to helmet with CMU’s Jonathon Ward in a blatant targeting call. He was ejected, and the drive ended in a touchdown for Central Michigan.
Josh Allen and Jordan Jones both stood out in a great way. They were able to generate a ton of pressure and were key parts of why Central Michigan struggled offensively in the second half.
Allen finished with 6 solo tackles, 3 tackles for a loss and one sack. Jones had 8 total tackles, 1.5 tackles for a loss and half a sack. Kash Daniel led the team will 11 total tackles and 2 QB hurries.
The Quarterback Play
Coming into the year with a brand new, first year quarterback, you’d have to expect at least a little bit of an adjustment period. While both QB’s made a couple solid plays, they struggled for the majority of the game.
Terry Wilson showcased his speed and athleticism from the very beginning. He’s got above average arm strength and could be the fastest player on Kentucky’s roster. His decision making is where he struggled. He forced a ball into double coverage in the end zone, where the defender made a spectacular catch for his first interception.
Wilson’s second interception was a completely careless throw he telegraphed the entire way. He went down with an injury on the play as well, which led to Gunnar Hoak’s entry into the game on the next drive.
Hoak didn’t fare much better himself. He made a couple nice throws on Kentucky’s final drive of the first half, but threw a ball that should’ve been a pick-six that was dropped. He did hit a wide open David Bouvier for a touchdown that put Kentucky up 21-20 at the half. Hoak started the second half, but struggled until he was eventually replaced by Wilson for the rest of the game.
Wilson did run the ball well in the second half and should start again this week at Florida. Florida’s defense will not be as forgiving as Central Michigan’s.
I honestly still can’t believe UK went into halftime with the lead. They lost two fumbles and threw two interceptions in the first half alone. They also recovered two of their own fumbles in the game, which could’ve easily gone to Central Michigan.
Kentucky’s defense bailed them out twice by holding CMU to a pair of field goals. You can attribute some of the sloppiness to it being their first game of the season, but they cannot turn the ball over and expect to be successful against any of their opponents going forward.
There is lot for the team to clean up this week in practice. That’s always easier to do after a win though. They showed some improvements on offense and didn’t turn it over in the 2nd half.
They’ll need to have a much better start against Florida if they’re expecting to break the 31-year streak.