The Kentucky Wildcats hammered UT-Martin 50-7 for their sixth win on the season, making them bowl eligible for the fourth straight season.
It was a prototypical SEC vs FCS game where Kentucky beat up on a much inferior opponent. And, with the rushing performance today from Kentucky, the Wildcats actually surpassed their rushing total from last season, despite no Terry Wilson and no all-time leading rusher in Benny Snell Jr.
It was nice to finally sit back and relax while watching a Kentucky football game this season. It was a slow start to the second quarter for Kentucky, but they quickly shook it off and got their mojo back, leading to two Lynn Bowden touchdown runs to break it open to a four-score game.
Despite adversity facing Kentucky and Coach Stoops this season, with losing starter Terry Wilson, backup Sawyer Smith, and even third stringer Nik Scalzo, Kentucky managed to find a way to become bowl eligible with the most versatile player in the country under center for the remainder of the season. It is truly a remarkable coaching job by Stoops and co.
Here are some things to know from the game:
Kentucky bowl eligible for the fourth straight season
Kentucky will be going bowling for a fourth straight season under Mark Stoops. It is only the second time on Kentucky history that the Wildcats have gone to four straight bowls.
What makes it even more special is all the adversity Kentucky had to overcome to make it to this point. After back-to-back ugly losses to Mississippi State and South Carolina, the Wildcats entered the bye week at 2-3 with seemingly no hope for the season. They’ve gone on to win four of six games and clinch a postseason berth.
And there is a very good chance that they make it five straight next season with key returning players and the best recruiting class in school history.
Consecutive bad snaps to open the game
UT-Martin started the game with a safety on the first play of the game. How did they follow that up? By another bad snap resulting in a Kentucky touchdown. Obviously, I’d much rather have a touchdown than a safety, but for pure entertainment purposes I really wanted to take a 4-0 lead. Luckily I snapped a quick picture of Kentucky with the rare 2-0 lead eight seconds into the game.
This sequence ended any upset hopes the Skyhawks had entering the game, as the Wildcats cruised to victory.
Confidence boost game ahead of Louisville next week
Kentucky came out and handled their business, as was expected against an FCS opponent. They played loose and looked like they were having fun, and getting that sixth win out of the way could be a big confidence boost ahead of the Governor’s Cup next week.
With no pressure of becoming bowl eligible, Kentucky could come out and just play loose and fluid like they have the past few seasons (except 2017) against Louisville.
The defense played well
The Kentucky defense held UT-Martin to ten yards total in the first half. Kentucky had nine yards passing in the first half. That honestly is just a remarkable and weird stat, but also showed how well Kentucky played on the defensive side of the ball, and also how overmatched the Skyhawks were going up against a much improved Wildcats defense. Kentucky also forced two turnovers and scored a defensive touchdown in the first half.
UT-Martin’s lone touchdown came in the second-half with Kentucky’s starters sitting.
Lynn Bowden is 4-2 as a starting quarterback
Lynn Bowden took over as starting quarterback on October 12th against Arkansas. Lynn Bowden is now 4-2 as a starting quarterback at Kentucky, which is simply incredible. With virtually zero passing offense, Kentucky has managed to go from 2-3 before Lynn took over, to a current 6-5 with a potential 7-5 on the horizon.
Kentucky currently has the 2nd best rushing attack in the SEC. Also, Lynn Bowden surpassed 100 yards rushing yards again for his fifth game this season going over 100 yards. Bowden also only needs 135 more yards for a top-10 rushing season in Kentucky history.
Travis Tisdale gets his first touchdown
The former four-star recruit out of Georgia had only one carry for -3 yards entering today’s game. On his first drive, he ripped off a run of 53 yards and the punched it into the end-zone for his first career touchdown.
Big things will be in store for Tisdale in the next year or two. Tisdale was one of Kentucky’s highest rated recruits in the class of 2019. While the backfield is loaded, Mark Stoops and Eddie Gran absolutely have to get Tisdale on the field next year.