For the first 30 minutes of the 2018 season-opener, Kentucky did not want the football.
Terry Wilson threw two interceptions and fumbled a handoff. Lynn Bowden fumbled a screen into the defender’s hands to give the Chippewas a simple scoop, score and a ten-point lead. Central Michigan scored all 20 points off UK turnovers.
The Kentucky offense needed a spark, and they found it from an unusual place: Gunnar Hoak and David Bouvier. The two connected three times on the final drive of the second half to cover 48 yards and give UK a 21-20 halftime lead. The Cats captured momentum and never looked back.
A.J. Rose was absolutely incredible. In only eight carries Rose rushed for 104 yards and 2 touchdowns. Benny Snell continued to do Benny Snell things, finishing with 125 yards and 2 touchdowns on 20 carries.
Defensively, the scoreboard does not reflect how well they held the line. Central Michigan struggled to regularly gain any momentum on the ground. Future NFL running back Jonathan Ward was held to just 36 yards as Josh Allen and Kash Daniel reeked havoc all over the field. Even when the Chippewas were setup for success after turnovers, the Cats forced them to field goals.
Costly mistakes prevented Kentucky from giving the Big Blue Nation a feel-good blowout to start the season. The defense and rushing attack provided plenty of reasons to be optimistic, but the lingering question at quarterback creates an unclear forecast for the 2018 season.