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Lynn Bowden starting at QB vs. Arkansas

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The Cats are rolling with their best playmaker at QB.

Jason Marcum - Sea of Blue

As expected, Kentucky Wildcats receiver Lynn Bowden is the team’s starting quarterback vs. the Arkansas Razorbacks. He replaces Sawyer Smith, who started the last three games.

In addition, running back Zach Johnson is the starting kickoff returner, where Bowden normally starts.

It was evident during pregame warmups that this would be the case, as Bowden worked with the starters while Smith worked with the second-team offense.

After second-year starter Terry Wilson went down on September 7th against Eastern Michigan, Smith was thrust into action. Despite the Florida Gators bringing a top-10 team to Lexington the following week, Smith had the Wildcats in the lead for most of the night, but the Cats ultimately fell and lost each of their next two games, in which Smith was vastly ineffective.

In the three games he started, Smith threw only four touchdowns to go with his five interceptions. He also completed just 46% of his passes and was sacked eight times. While Stoops said Smith was indeed playing through injury at Mississippi State and at South Carolina, the former Troy quarterback played essentially the entirety of both games. He was pulled from the 24-7 loss in Columbia on UK’s final drive and replaced with Bowden, who led UK to its only score of the night.

In limited snaps as a Wildcat QB, Bowden has completed three of four passes for 39 yards this season. He also has 13 runs for 99 yards.

While Bowden is extremely dynamic, there will certainly be growing pains with a full-time receiver now moving to quarterback even if he did play the position in high school.