The Kentucky Wildcats scored on their first two possessions to leap out to a quick 14-0 lead, and the Ohio Bobcats were unable to respond with any offense of their own, falling on Saturday, 20-3.
“We did not execute very well early,” Ohio coach Frank Solich said. “They took advantage of that, and it cost us.”
Derrius Vick started at quarterback for Ohio, but he was benched for J.D. Sprague at the beginning of the second quarter after failing to complete a pass in six attempts. Sprague completed 13 of 25 passes for 143 yards, but the Bobcats only score came on a 44-yard Josiah Yazdani field goal on the first drive of the second half.
“All week I had to prepare like I was going to play,” Sprague said. “When I did, it felt natural and the other guys trusted me.”
Kentucky’s front seven stifled Ohio’s running game, forcing the Green & White into several 3rd & long situations. The Bobcats converted 4 of 14 third downs and failed to enter Wildcat territory until late in the second quarter.
Quarterback Patrick Towles directed Kentucky’s offense to a 75-yard scoring drive on the game’s first possession, capping it off with an eight-yard touchdown pass to Dorian Baker. On the Wildcats’ next possession, Stanley “Boom” Williams busted through the hole and scampered for a 53-yard touchdown.
Kentucky outgained Ohio 232-74 on the ground with a rushing attack that featured five different rushers with more than 25 yards. Towles spearheaded the Kentucky (2-0) attatck with 96 rushing yards to accompany his 170 yards through the air.
Daz’ Patterson led Ohio on the ground with 46 yards and was aided by 40 rushing yards from Sprague. The Bobcats missed some opportunities for big plays on offense, most notably when Patterson dropped a sure touchdown pass from Vick late in the first quarter.
“We just didn’t execute like we did last week,” Sprague said. “This week, we had some mishaps and I had a lot of miscues as well.”
Despite the Bobcats’ lackluster offense, Kentucky failed to capitalize on good field position several times. The Wildcats were stuffed twice inside Ohio’s five-yard line.
“As the game went on, our defense played better and better,” Solich said. “They kept us in the game.”
Quentin Poling led the way for Ohio (1-1) on defense with 10 total tackles. Poling, a freshman linebacker, had two sacks in the red zone to prevent Kentucky from reaching the end zone.
“We settled down and were able to make some big stops,” Poling said. “It gave us some energy.”
Solich expects that his team’s quarterback situation will play itself out as the season progresses. He has not named a starter for next week’s matchup at Marshall.
“I support Derrius and Derrius supports me,” Sprague said. “The coaches are going to play whoever they think gives us a better chance at winning the game.”
“They’ve both had their moments, but I think they both need more moments,” Solich said.