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Kentucky Wins its Season Opener, 35-20 Over Central Michigan

Posted at 7:00 PM, Sep 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-01 20:45:13-04

Kentucky and Central Michigan opening the season at Kroger Field.

The Wildcats got the ball first and went a very quick three and out. After a Max Duffy 50 yard punt, the Wildcats forced the Chippewas into a fast three and out.

Kentucky would get the ball back midway through the 1st quarter and Terry Wilson would fake the handoff and then fumble it away to Central Michigan.

The Chippewas would capitalize on the UK turnover by driving downfield on Kentucky by picking up the speed of the game, quickly lining up for the next play. UK would at least keep it to three as Michael Armstrong would kick a 26 yard field goal.

Kentucky would strike quickly to take the lead. A four play drive was finished as A.J. Rose took the hand off, turned the corner and used his speed to outrun the defenders for a 55 yard touchdown. That’s the first of his career for the sophomore. UK takes a 7-3 lead.

On the ensuing kickoff, Yusuf Corker would make the tackle at the two yard line setting up Central Michigan deep. The Chippewas were forced to punt and Kentucky started the drive. However, Wilson was scrambling out of the pocket and threw deep into the endzone where it was picked off by Xavier Crawford.

Central Michigan got it’s offense going. A 14 play drive was capped off by a four yard touchdown run by Kumehnnu Gwilley. The Chippewas would take a 10-7 lead.

On UK’s next possession, Wilson would hit Lynn Bowden on a quick out pass, Bowden was fighting for yardage when it was stripped out of his hands and into the air. Central Michigan’s, Devonni Reed, caught it and ran it back 20 yards for another touchdown. The Chippewas would take a 17-7 lead.

Kentucky would respond in just six offensive plays. And it was another incredible run by Benny Snell, Jr. As he broke through the hole and picked up speed, he hurdled a player hitting him low. As he jumped in the air, he was hit high and somehow kept his balance. He came back down and went on to finish a 52 yard touchdown run. UK still trailing 17-14.

UK got the ball back and had a chance to get the lead before the half. Terry Wilson had a slow pass to the outside picked off and run back deep into UK territory. During the play, Wilson also came up injured, holding his left arm tight to his body.

Michael Armstrong would hit his second field goal from 22 yards away to give Central Michigan a 20-14 lead with just over a minute left in the half.

Gunnar Hoak would come in at quarterback for UK with :55 remaining and he hit David Bouvier for a 19 yard gain. The pair would connect to finish the drive on a 24 yard connection. Kentucky would take the 21-20 lead with 14 seconds remaining and take that lead into the half.

UK leading in total yardage 246-154, with 160 of that coming on the ground for the Wildcats. UK up 21-20 at the break.

Gunnar Hoak would start the second half for the Wildcats but they quickly went three and out. The next series, Terry Wilson would return and lead the Cats on a touchdown drive. It was done though by the Wildcat as Benny Snell, Jr. took the snap and carried it 11 yards for the touchdown and a 28-20 UK lead.

Central Michigan got a little more thin. During a punt return by David Bouvier, Tyjuan Swain was called for targeting and ejected from the game. Then, Wilson would hit Dorian Baker for a 21 yard pick-up and Baker was hit on another targeting call on Trevor Apsey. He was also ejected.

Kentucky would continue the drive and A.J. Rose would run the Wildcat to finish it with a four yard run. UK would lead 35-20. Rose crosses the 100 yard mark for the first time in his career.

Benny Snell, Jr. and A.J. Rose each racked up more than 100 yards rushing. The last time that happened was in 2016 when Benny paired up with Boom Williams to accomplish the feat.

Kentucky wins 35-20 to start the season 1-0. Next Saturday, UK travels to Florida looking to snap a 31 game losing streak to the Gators. That game will kick off at 7:30 on the SEC Network.