Cats’ blow-out win over Murray State showcases depth and potential


Kentucky Wildcats running back Benny Snell Jr. (26) tries to maneuvers around defenders during the game against Murray State on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018, in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky defeated Murray 48-10. Photo by Jordan Prather | Staff

Mohammad Ahmad

Kentucky football’s 48-10 blowout win over Murray State on Saturday is an exception to the wins they’ve had in their last three seasons.

That’s because Saturday’s 38-point differential is the highest scoring game the Cats have had since they played the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 2015, a game in which the Cats won 58-10 in Lexington.

Since then, Kentucky had not seen games like that until today.

“This team is a little bit more mature than some of the teams we’ve seen before today,” UK offensive line coach John Schlarman said. 

UK safety Mike Edwards had a 20-yard interception return for a touchdown in that 2015 game. Today, he led the team in tackles with five.

“A large point spread is good because it shows what this team can do,” Edwards said.

Edwards wasn’t the only veteran defender to step up. Seniors Derrick Baity, Josh Allen, and Darius West all had four tackles each. However, they also had some help from their younger counterparts.

Freshman defensive tackle Marquan McCall had three tackles and the team’s only sack, which also led to a forced fumble. His freshman counterpart, linebacker Jamin Davis, made an impact too with four tackles and the only interception of the game.

What does a mix of veterans and freshmen that make plays like this show? Depth.

According to UK head coach Mark Stoops, today’s win serves as an example of just that.

“A big blow-out like this shows depth. Just depth,” Stoops said. “We have some good, young players that, when they get in there, they want to play. So, they run the ball hard and they block and catch it and so on.”

Freshman running back Christopher Rodriguez showed that depth on offense. In his first ever game, he had two back-to-back carries in the fourth quarter that yielded 43 yards. The second carry featured him dragging multiple defenders on a 27-yard carry, which set up a rushing touchdown for yet another new face, freshman quarterback Danny Clark.

“We took a step forward today,” Snell said. “Chris [Rodriguez] reminds me of a freshman version of myself.”

Freshman receivers Allen Dailey and Zy’Aire Hughes scoring their first-ever touchdowns as Wildcats adds proof to that. Sophomore breakout Lynn Bowden coupled that potential with his most receiving yards in a game with 89. 

With UK’s first SEC home match against Mississippi State happening next Saturday, Allen believes every player, regardless of experience, shapes the future of this season and beyond.

 “All of us can play, we just have to continue to play together and as one.”