Kentucky appeared to display their weaknesses early on as the offense struggled, but they didn't falter. The defense stood tall and the offensive line grew as the game went on.
Despite multiple scares, the Cats were able to go into the Swamp and grind it out. What a win.
Next up, the Cats will return to Lexington to take on the Youngstown State Penguins on Saturday.
Jordan Wright is back
What an impact Jordan Wright made in his first game back. After sitting out with a suspension for the same reasons as Chris Rodriguez, Wright made his presence felt.
Wright was presumably important in this game because of his size and athleticism against Anthony Richardson. Well, he played the part perfectly. Not only did Wright have a sack and multiple tackles for loss, but he also intercepted a pass on an incredible play that set up UK to score before the half.
Wright has struggled with injuries throughout his career, so he’s always been more potential than production, but he’s shown flashes, and he was enormously bright in this one.
Run game still struggling
Well, it wasn't just a Miami (Ohio) problem. Kentucky’s got a serious problem. The problem is no Chris Rodriguez and a weak offensive line.
The hope was that there were some communication issues to begin the year, but it would work itself out. That’s not the case. The running back room is low on players and the offensive line is...bad.
Thankfully, Kentucky’s line played better in the second half, allowing Kavosiey Smoke and La’Vell Wright to do just enough for Kentucky to win.
Maybe it’ll get better once Rodriguez gets back, but what’s been a strength for the last five years appears to be a major weakness this season. The Big Blue Wall needs some experience and time to develop before it returns to form.
Dane Key is here
Has Kentucky ever seen true freshman shine the way they did in a season opener against Miami (Ohio)? Multiple freshmen contributed and stood out, but the real challenge came this week. Who would step up, if anyone?
Dane Key stood up. When the Cats needed someone to step up in the Swamp, of all place, the true freshman showed what he could do on a 55-yard, contested touchdown reception that completely changed the game.
Key showed poise in game one, but he showed his potential NFL ability in game two. What a performance in a time of need.
Contain, contain, contain
The name of the game against Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson is contain. The return of Jordan Wright was no doubt influential in doing so, but UK didn't let Richardson do anything on the ground.
Richardson and Levis came into this game on even ground in the NFL Draft projections, but Richardson showed he’s severely limited. He’s an explosive-play type guy and against a Kentucky defense that limits such plays, it wasn't the game for him.
UK ensured that Richardson wouldn't beat them deep or with his legs, so what it came down to was intermediate throws and fundamental plays. The Florida QB flopped.
What a win! Go Cats!