Final Score: Kentucky 28, Eastern Kentucky 17
UK steers the ship after a rocky first half.
Photo Cred: kyinsider.com
Play of the Game:
QB Devin Leary throws an absolute dime to WR Tayvion Robinson to tie the game before halftime. This pivotal play shifted momentum in favor of the Wildcats, leading to a strong second half.
Photo Cred: The Interior Journal
Free safety Maxwell Hairston made a remarkable deep interception that denied Eastern Kentucky a touchdown opportunity and granted Kentucky’s offense another chance.
Photo Cred: ESPN
Player of the Game: WR Tayvion Robinson
Robinson led the Wildcats in receiving this week, hauling in six receptions for 136 yards and two TDs. He was the offensive spark the team needed this week, with RB Re’Mahn Davis held in check throughout most of the game. He made the play of the game and had another beautiful touchdown reception in the second half, helping UK move on to 2-0.
Photo Cred: Yahoo Sports
Honorable Mention: QB Devin Leary
Photo Cred: WUKY
The Tale of Two Halves
Kentucky struggled in the first half against their lesser opponent. It wasn’t until Leary’s touchdown pass to Robinson at the end of the second quarter that the Wildcats scored their first points and tied the game. While EKU looked formidable, much of this had to do with UK shooting themselves in the foot. The Wildcats had multiple careless penalties and turnovers. It was a very undisciplined first half with some egregious holding, offsides, or false starts.
Photo Cred: AP News Photo Cred: LEX18
Eastern Kentucky was able to capitalize on these mistakes, but Kentucky’s defense kept them in the game even when the offense was struggling. EKU’s decision to head straight to halftime following Robinson’s touchdown was questionable. With three timeouts and a strong offensive showing, they missed an opportunity to attempt a field goal before the break. This could’ve potentially given them an edge in the second half, but they seemed content enough to go into the locker room with a tied game. Those three points could’ve helped the team come back in the game later on.
Everything fell into place for the Wildcats after halftime, with the team outscoring EKU 21-3 in the final two quarters. It’s definitely good news after they were held scoreless for most of the first half. Leary showed flashes as the guy many KY fans hoped he would be, finishing the game with four touchdowns and just one interception. Three of those TDs came in the second half.
Photo Cred: San Diego Union-Tribune Photo Cred: Wildcat Blue Nation
His lone interception was more a testament to the defense, resulting from a tipped pass at the line of scrimmage. UK has established itself as a second-half team, which is effective against the likes of Ball State and EKU. However, it could be potentially challenging against SEC powerhouses like Georgia and Alabama later in the season. While this week’s game may not have been the prettiest, a win is a win.
The Wildcats will again enjoy the support of their home crowd this Saturday as they host Akron at 7:30 P.M. This game against Akron holds importance as the final one before they face other SEC teams. It will be crucial for Kentucky to start strong and perform well in the first half. Until then!
Photo Cred: Commonwealth Causes