All eyes were on the defense Saturday as everyone wanted to see how Kentucky would look after losing Josh Allen, Jordan Jones, and most of the secondary.
After a rough start, the entire unit seemed to settle in and played a dominant second half. They were led by sophomores DeAndre Square and Josh Paschal, who were named tot he Eckrich SEC Team of the Week.
Here is the Team of the Week on the defensive side in the SEC! pic.twitter.com/dUDVddmcUB— PFF College (@PFF_College) September 2, 2019
Square stood out as being the best player on the defensive side of the ball for Kentucky. He had 11 tackles, seven of which were solo. He also had a half of a quarterback sack and an incredible interception that helped to put the game away.
DeAndre Square puts a cap on a HUGE game by tipping the pass to himself for the interception. pic.twitter.com/opNjJizQ8v— Scott Charlton (@Scott_Charlton) August 31, 2019
Square looked every bit of a stud SEC linebacker on Saturday. As a sophomore, he could be the guy that leads the Kentucky defense for years to come. Not only was he recognized with the conference award from Eckrich, but he was also named to the National Team of the Week.
Paschal, fresh off of a season mostly missed due to cancer on his foot, led the way for the defensive line. He had four tackles, a forced fumble, and a solo sack to show that he can, at times, play the role Josh Allen played a year ago. He certainly cannot do it alone, but he proved that he can contribute in a major way.
Josh Paschal with his first sack of the season. pic.twitter.com/yL4cGEYsgg— Scott Charlton (@Scott_Charlton) August 31, 2019
Make no mistake, Toledo is a good football team on the offensive side of the ball. So for these guys to step up in a big way against them is a great sign for the rest of the season. Next week’s game against Eastern Michigan will be a step down in competition, so it would be a great opportunity to see if they can build off of Saturday’s performance.
The first true test will be against Florida on September 14th at Kroger Field. If Square and Paschal continue to develop and lead as they have shown they can, finding a way to beat the Gators for the second season in a row would be a statement to the entire country that Kentucky football is for real and last season was not a fluke.