UK Football beats Eastern Michigan
The Kentucky Wildcats Football won their seventh consecutive non-conference game with a 38-17 victory over Eastern Michigan. The joy of victory was tempered as starting QB Terry Wilson suffered an injury after being horse-collared tackled and was carted off the field with his knee immobilized in a brace.
"I think you all know that it doesn't look good. Anybody that gets carted off on a cart like that and they put his knee in that deal doesn't look good, right? Just wait until I get the MRI tomorrow," said Head Coach Mark Stoops about his quarterback's injury.
Wilson was 14-26 for 114 yards to that point. His replacement Sawyer Smith, a transfer from Troy University, threw for two touchdowns on 5-9 for 75 yards.
The Cats jumped out to a 17-0 lead behind a eight-yard run by Asim Rose, a Kavosley Smoke 32-yard scamper, and Kicker Chance Poore hitting both extra points and a 40-yard field goal. EMU would get on the board with a field goal late in the first half.
The teams would trade touchdowns in the third and fourth quarters as Wilson punched the ball into the end zone on a two-yard run at the 7:47 mark of the third quarter. EMU would convert on a 26-yard pass towards the end of the third to trail 24-10.
Smith would convert on a 54-yard bomb to WR Ahmad Wagner, who played collegiate basketball for Iowa last season, to push the lead to 31-10 before EMU scored to cut the lead to 31-17.
“They are different quarterbacks, but they are both really good and both have their strengths and I think we can move the chains and still throw the ball. It’s not going to change, we are still going to be aggressive on offense, run the ball and throw the ball. We all have the upmost confidence in Sawyer," said Wagner about the change in quarterbacks.
Smith is appreciative of the tall target Wagner provides. “He’s about 6’7. He looks about 8 feet (tall) out there. It’s fun to throw it to him, we’ve got plenty of playmakers. It’s not hard for us quarterbacks to make plays like that. We just have to be good and have good technique and steps and plays will come.”
Kentucky WR star Lynn Bowden would catch a two-yard pass from Smith and Poore's extra point would cap the scoring.
They had a balanced running attack that totaled 239 yards with Smoke tallying 92 yards, Rose 82, Wilson 45, Bowden 17 and Smith with 5 yards.
Bowden also had a 32-yard completion out of the Wildcat setup to Wilson. He would have 54 yards receiving on seven catches.
Defensively, Brandin Echols and Yusuf Corker led the way with seven tackles each. Kash Daniel and Jordan Griffin each grabbed an interception while Jordan Wright and Griffin each had a sack. Daniel added five tackles to his day.
Sophomore LB Josh Paschal had five tackles, including a career-high two tackles for loss.
Kentucky is off to a 2-0 start for the third straight season and fifth time in the last six years. They have won 12 of its last 15 games, tied for second-best record in the SEC in the last 15 games. Only Alabama has a better record. It is Kentucky's best stretch since a 15-game span from Dec. 31, 1976 to Sept. 30, 1978 when the Wildcats were 12-2-1 during that time.
Kentucky's two touchdown drives of 90 and 94 yards along with their two 90+ yard scoring drives in the opening game already matches the team's total for the entire season, last year.
Next for Kentucky: the Wildcats host Florida on Saturday, Sept. 14, at 7 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN.