Kentucky’s Florida hangover lingered for a half before the Cats turned on the jets to cruise to a dominant 48-10 victory over Murray State. It’s hard to take much away from a win over an FCS opponent, but we did learn a few things today about the Kentucky Wildcats.
1. Terry Wilson is The Man
Terry Touchdown was firing on all cylinders in the first half. He completed 12-of-14 passes in the first two quarters. A drop and a throw-away under pressure were Wilson’s only two misses. On the ground he was just as good.
TO THE HOUSE!
Terry Touchdown showing off the wheels. pic.twitter.com/sbJVGAosaD
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) September 15, 2018
Wilson’s day was done in the third quarter. He finished the game with 243 all-purpose yards. Through three games Wilson has completed 69.4 percent of his passes.
2. The Offensive Line Didn’t Look the Same
Something was not right in the first half. The unit that dominated Florida in the trenches wasn’t opening holes for Benny Snell against Murray State. Terry Wilson did not get touched in Gainesville, but was sacked by a Racer.
Mark Stoops will not make excuses, but you can probably chalk most of it to a bad hangover. The rest of the mistakes in the trenches will be considered teaching moments for the inexperienced offensive linemen. Darian Kinnard gave up a sack, Luke Fortner and E.J. Price had a few bad penalties but Kentucky’s second string o-line played through the mistakes to pave the way for a hard fought 14-play, 64-yard touchdown drive in the second quarter.
3. Jordan Jones: Good in Pass Coverage
Jordan Jones became an All-SEC linebacker by making disruptive plays behind the line of scrimmage. Today he proved that he can make plays downfield too. Jones broke up a team-high four passes in coverage. Even though he only had two tackles, Jones showed that he’s developed into a player that is valuable all over the field.
4. Benny Snell has a P.J. Washington Impression
Unfortunately, the slow start in the trenches prevented Snell from surpassing 100 yards for the first time this season. He finished with just 75 yards on 15 carries (5 yards per carry) and was pulled early in the third quarter. Before his day was done, he powered into the end zone and flexed harder than P.J. Washington.
— David Scott (@Finna_Go_HAM) September 15, 2018
5. QB Sneaks are BACK!
On fourth and short in the Stephen Johnson era, Eddie Gran usually turned to Benny Snell to get a first down out of the Wildcat. Even though that is technically a quarterback sneak, it’s not the play that Jared Lorenzen used to keep drives alive. Gran brought that play back today.
Wilson went with two quick counts to fall forward a yard for a first down. On one occasion, C.J. Conrad tackled him forward to move the chains. Kentucky was 3-for-3 overall on fourth down and now they have a new reliable short yardage weapon.
6. Missed Connections
After finding Lynn Bowden for a 54-yard touchdown against Florida, the Big Blue Nation pronounced the return of the Deep Ball. That declaration was premature.
Kentucky had three missed deep ball opportunities, one to Isaiah Epps and a pair to Dorian Baker. One play in particular will haunt the senior. Wilson threw a beautiful pass that dropped over the cornerback’s shoulder, but Baker could not hold onto the ball.
7. Miles Butler is Money
Kentucky’s kicker finally let his leg loose. He did not disappoint. Butler banged in his first two field goal attempts of the season from 40 and 38 yards.
The other two kickers were pretty good too. Grant McKinniss drilled a few deep into the end zone and Max Duffy’s only punt was a 54-yarder that landed inside the 20-yard line.
8. Lynn Bowden: Good at Football
Bowden started the game with quite the snafu. The wide receiver dropped the opening kickoff and returned it to just the ten-yard line. After that, he could do no wrong. Bowden caught a career-high 8 passes for 89 yards. He took screens straight upfield (instead of dancing around) and made one incredible highlight on the sideline.
9. The Future is Bright
The blowout win provided many opportunities for Kentucky’s young stars to shine on Kroger Field for the first time.
True freshman wide receiver Allen Dailey fought through three defenders to score his first career touchdown. The Alabama native caught two passes for 38 yards and a score. Chris Rodriguez tried to replicate Dailey’s touchdown, but was finally drug down by a pile of defenders inside the five. Danny Clark entered the end zone one play later for his first career touchdown. Rodriguez rushed for 43 yards in just two carries.
On defense, Marquan McCall did not disappoint. The highest-ranked player in Kentucky’s 2018 recruiting class stripped the quarterback, recorded a sack, 1.5 tackles for loss and 3 total tackles. DeAndre Square chipped in two tackles, .5 for loss, and a pass break up. Redshirt freshman Jamin Davis picked off his first career interception and recorded four tackles.
10. It’s Tricky
Benny Snell can do it all. In one play he threw a touchdown pass AND landed the lead block that sprung the receiver free. He has a 791 QB rating after the Wildcat trick play to Paducah native Zy’Aire Hughes went 43 yards for a touchdown.
Best lead blocker in the country and I’m not sure it’s even close. pic.twitter.com/6CIBoNfmcI
— Not Jerry Tipton (@NotJerryTipton) September 15, 2018
One thing we did NOT learn today: Dr. Mike is awesome. You’ve known that for a long time. Check out all of his photos from today’s game.