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Highlights, box score and MVP from Wildcats’ shutout win over Penguins

How about that defense!?

Drew Brown - Sea of Blue

The Kentucky Wildcats entered Saturday’s game against Youngstown State with a perfect record and heavy 30-point favorites.

The ultimate goal for UK in game three of the season was to stay healthy and ideally sharpen up on both sides of the ball, maybe more so offensively.

After one quarter of play inside Kroger Field it, was anything but encouraging from an offensive standpoint, and the Kentucky defense lost one of its veteran leaders in J.J. Weaver, who suffered an arm injury and could be out for a bit.

At one point late in the first quarter, UK had accumulated -12 rushing yards, and Will Levis had been sacked multiple times. Offensive line concerns mounted heavily early on creating anxiety amongst the Big Blue Nation.

Things somewhat stabilized in the second quarter thanks to continued dominance from Brad White’s defense who all but held Youngstown State in the fetal position for the entire first half. Despite taking control with a 14-0 lead the UK offense sputtered any gained momentum when a LaVell Wright fumble throttled another drive.

But without a doubt the real takeaway of the first half was the true freshman Dane Key. The hometown kid picked up right where he left off in Gainesville by going nuclear in the first 30 minutes. His contributions totally changed the dynamic of the game early on.

Thanks to the Levis/Key connection the Cats took a 21-0 lead to the break.

Youngstown State came out with a masterful drive that was cut short after a gritty PBU by Carrington Valentine while defending former Wildcat Bryce Oliver. He’d follow it up with an unbelievable interception in the end zone when the Penguins had what was thought to be for sure points having the ball first and goal from the 2-yard line.

Kentucky would come away with its first shutout since 2009 thanks to a 31-0 final score.There were some ups-and-downs throughout, but overall, it was a dominating performance by Brad White’s defense, leaving much to be excited about after three games of the season.



Kentucky had several guys step up on both sides of the ball in their win on Saturday. But in my opinion the MVP of this game was locked up relatively quickly after the opening kickoff.

Folks, true freshman Dane Key has officially separated himself from pack.

He’d finish the game with six grabs on seven targets for 90 yards and his third touchdown in three games.

Despite Kentucky having rare depth and talent at the wide receiver position, it’s been clear that Key just has the goods.

In just 10 quarters of play, the former KHSAA standout had already hauled in three touchdown passes, tying a record for a freshman at UK.

Who knows what path this game could have went down had Dane Key not flexed his dominance when his teammates were struggling to get going. So for that reason, I’m labeling him as MVP.

Moving forward, you’ll likely see Key’s contributions on offense extend away from just catching passes. He’s now a proven, consistent threat that require defensive coordinators to show respect on all routes, which will ideally open things up even further for Levis and Scangarello’s offense.

Honorable mentions to Will Levis, Kavosiey Smoke and Carrington Valentine who all contributed to the win in a major way.


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