By Ricky Blair – East KY Media
The Kentucky football team is off to a high flying start with a 59-14 win over UT-Martin on Saturday. Quarterback Phillip Towles was terrific in making his first start for the Wildcats. The red-shirt sophomore completed 20 of 29 passes for 377 yards and threw for one touchdown. Towles also showed his ability to move with a nifty 23-yard scramble for a touchdown. While Towles showed promise, he was not alone in having a successful day. Nine receivers caught passes and five running backs carried the ball during the game. The running game was led by junior running back Braylon Heard. The Nebraska transfer ran twice for 116 yards and two touchdowns. Let me say that again, he ran two times, scored two touchdowns. That’s “un-Heard of” when it comes to past opening performances for the Wildcats. Heard went 73 yards for a touchdown on his first carry as a Wildcat running back, and then, on his next carry, he went 43 yards for another touchdown. This would have to go down as the most spectacular start to a UK player’s career in the history of the school. Unfortunately, Heard turned an ankle on his second run and set out the rest of the game. With Heard’s big day, the Wildcats put up 234 yards rushing to go along with their 422 passing yards for a whopping 656 total yards of offense.
The offense was tremendous, but the defense was solid as well, holding the Skyhawks of UT-Martin scoreless for three quarters and putting a touchdown of their own on the scoreboard. The touchdown came when junior linebacker Khalid Henderson picked up a fumble at UK’s own 11-yard line and rambled 89 yards for the touchdown. Henderson also had 8 tackles, which tied him with Junior-college transfer safety A.J. Stamps for the most tackles on the day. Stamps had his own set of big plays making a huge hit in the UT-Martin backfield that sent the running back summer-salting and then he made a leaping one-handed interception.
UK’s 45-point victory was it’s largest win since the 2002 season. In comparison to the team we saw last season, Coach Mark Stoops said, “It was pretty evident today we were better.” Better indeed. This was a very nice way to start the season for this young football team.