Andre’ Chapman | Analyzed Sports
The Kentucky Wildcats improved to 2-0 on the season Saturday afternoon during their home opener as they defeated the Eastern Kentucky Colonels in a hard fought game by the final score 27-16.
The Wildcats were able to get on the board first after electing to receive the ball first but was only able to come away with 3 points as Kentucky had to settle for a 39-yard field goal by Austin MacGinnis.
EKU would take the lead 7-3 on the next drive on a 7-yard touchdown pass from Tim Boyle to WR Ryan Markush capping off a 9 play 49-yard drive. Markush finished the game with 98 yards receiving on 10 catches and a touchdown in the defeat to the Wildcats.
“We knew all week that it would be a tough game said UK Head Coach Mark Stoops. A lot of people have their opinions, but we watched them last week versus Western Kentucky. I believe our players knew it was a good football team, that it would be a tough, hard-fought game. It was.”
The Colonels (0-2) would have a 13-3 lead and control of the game for most of the half until UK QB Stephen Johnson was able to find TE CJ Conrad for a 23-yard touchdown pass with 1:28 remaining until halftime. Ultimately EKU would take a 13-10 lead into the half after UK’s Austin MacGinnis failed to connect on a 48-yard field attempt after the Wildcats forced the Colonels to punt using 37 seconds off the clock on the ensuing possession.
EKU was still able to take a surprising 13-10 lead into the half. EKU had 147 total offense with 32 yards rushing, while Kentucky halftime stats were 197 yards with 52 yards rushing. Benny Snell only had 3 attempts rushing for 5 yards.
The Colonels had a couple of opportunities to extend their lead after the half but found themselves trailing at the end of the third 17-16 when Benny Snell broke free for a 25-yard rushing touchdown. UK WR Blake Bone was able to set that score up when he caught a 43-yard bomb from QB Stephen Johnson just a play for the touchdown.
Kentucky never was able to pull away from EKU but with 10:09 remaining in the game, UK was able to create a little breathing room when Stephen Johnson took a broken play to the house on a 21-yard rushing touchdown. The Wildcats went up 24 to 16 and would finish the game with a final score of 27-16.
Stephen Johnson finished the game 15-22 for 224 yards and 1 touchdown. The Wildcats leading receiver was Blake Bone with 3 attempts for 93 yards.
Now Kentucky is going to have to get better in a hurry as they travel to Williams-Brice Stadium, in Columbia, SC to face the South Carolina Gamecocks next Saturday at 7:30 pm televised on the SEC Network.
“Were 2-0 said Mark Stoops.” “That feels very good. The nice thing is that we know, and our players know, there’s a lot of things we need to improve on. And they’ll do that. We’ll get better. We’ve been in this position before. We were in it last year and the record wasn’t the same.”