Kentucky continued their winning ways by opening the 2019 season with a 38-24 victory over Toledo at Kroger Field. It was not a season-opening MACtion blow out, but the Cats remained in control for most of the game.
The Rockets were the first to strike, racing out to a 7-0 lead with a seven-play 63-yard touchdown drive in the opening three minutes of action. After a UK three-and-out, the Kroger Field crowd was uneasy. That feeling did not last for long.
With proficient passing from Wilson and contributions from all three running backs, on the following drive Kentucky marched 97 yards down the field and into the end zone. Justin Rigg recorded the first score by recovering a Chris Rodriguez fumble.
Kentucky did not relinquish the momentum again until an unusual second half sequence trimmed the UK lead to only seven. After Toledo recovered a Lynn Bowden fumble deep in their own territory, Chris Oats was called for a targeting foul at the end of a long run by quarterback Mitchell Guadagni, setting up a Toledo filed goal.
A quick three-and-out later, the Cats were against the ropes. In Terry Wilson’s time to shine, he threw two poor passes before he found his rhythm to spark Kentucky to a 92-yard scoring drive. Bowden and Allen Dailey had a pair of impressive third down receptions before Kavosiey Smoke exploded for a 40-yard touchdown run.
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) August 31, 2019
Toledo’s final chance to mount a comeback was taken away by DeAndre Square. The sophomore linebacker tipped a pass into the air to reel in a contested interception. The play put the Cats in scoring position to end the game with a bang. Square led all tacklers with 11. Kentucky’s MVP also recorded 1.5 tackles for loss a half sack.
Kentucky’s season-opener was filled with lows — three fumbles and 3-of-11 on third down — along with plenty of highs — Wilson completed 73 percent of his passes to eight different receivers — to build on before the Florida Gators roll into Lexington in two weeks.