Mark Stoops team has risen to No. 7 mostly because they keep winning while those ahead have caught tough breaks. Kentucky has not been perfect through its first four games thanks to turnovers and shaky lineman play, but one of the top contenders in the SEC East has come out on the winning side. Their 4-0 undefeated record includes a win over No. 12 Florida on the road. Will Levis is a big reason.
The dual-threat quarterback couldn’t be beaten at home against Northern Illinois. The future NFL QB threw four touchdowns in a 31-23 victory. Levis earned a 217.9 passer rating. The Wildcats will try to continue their breakout year against No. 14 Ole Miss. The senior quarterback has thrown for 1,185 yards and ten touchdowns with four interceptions this season. It has been no secret that since he arrived on campus that Levis has the arm talent to make it to the next level, and with the help of Rich Scangarello, you are starting to see a more polished QB prospect.
Photo Cred: A Sea Of Blue
It was not an easy game for the Cat’s defense as NIU drove the ball right down the field in the opening drive. Will Levis and the offense would answer as Levis hit true freshman Barion Brown for a 15-yard touchdown making it 7-7. Late in the 2nd quarter, Levis stood in the pocket and delivered a strike to Tayvion Robinson for a 69-yard touchdown to take the 14-7 lead. The Cats got the ball back with just over a minute remaining and a chance to score. However, a fumble by Kavosiey Smoke set NIU up in excellent field position, and they were able to take advantage as they went into halftime tied at 14.
Kentucky got the ball to start the 2nd half and struck quick with a 70-yard score to make it 21-14. Late in the 3rd quarter, the Cats were putting together a solid drive but stalled out, and Matt Ruffolo drilled a 49-yard field goal to make it 24-14. Halfway through the 4th, the Cats put together an 11-play, 78-yard drive that ended with Robinson’s 2nd receiving TD and put the game out of reach at 31-14. NIU found the end zone late, but it was too little too late as the Cats recovered the onside kick to win 31-23.
Photo Cred: Courier Journal
This weekend the Wildcats have their work cut out for them this week against Ole Miss. “To go on the road and have that motivation to go down there and make our fans proud and produce in an environment like that is exciting. I mean, we did it once against Florida this year. I have more fun in away games than I do at home games. I know he’s going to bring it, and he’s going to prepare his team just like we are.”
Ole Miss is 4th nationally with 280.75 rushing yards per game and has scored 15 times on the ground. Kentucky is a respectable 30th nationally against the run (108.2 ypg allowed) and 4th in surrendering just three rushing TDs. On the other side, Kentucky has fielded one of the premier offensive lines, the engine behind UK’s resurgence under Mark Stoops. But this fall, it’s underwhelmed: 123rd in run yards per game, 125th in yards per rush, and 129th in sacks allowed. It’s shaping up to be a great game.