The Cats were able to pick up a sloppy win against the Toledo Rockets today. Despite a number of miscues and penalties the Wildcats held on to win the home opener with a score of 38 - 24.
To start the first quarter Toledo done an excellent job of putting the Wildcat fan base on notice that this wasn't going to be an easy washout. Between Bryant Koback's early Toledo TD and Holt's vision for tackles they held the 1st quarter score to 7 - 0. Toledo carried the majority of the momentum for the quarter.
The Cats did pick up a bit towards the end of the first when Chris Rodriguez pulled a big run for a first down that started a Wildcat drive. Following a pass interference call against Toledo in favor of Ahmad Wagner the Cats were in the red zone to start of the 2nd. The Cats lined up with Rodriguez going in to tie the game but fumbled before he crossed the end zone. The ball was recovered by UK's Justin Rigg to tie the game at 7 - 7.
The 2nd would primarily end up as a grouping of offense for both teams. After a holding call against the Cats early in the drive, Toledo lined up on a 3 and 8 where Mitchell Guadagni easily pushed past for a first down. He followed that up with a 21 yard touchdown run to let Toledo retake the lead 14 - 7. Kentucky's Lynn Bowden then followed that drive to pull down a long pass that setup a follow up drive for the Cats. This led to a 22 yard run from AJ Rose that lined the Cats on the 11. He then followed it up by a drive up the middle to tie the score back at 14 - 14 with his first touchdown of the year.
The third quarter was primarily all Cats and would see UK's first lead of the 2019 season. This happened off a 46 yd Chance Poole field goal to give the Cats a 17 - 14 lead. The UK defense was able to then keep the offense on the field for Bryce Oliver's first career catch. That catch would be a 32-yard TD toss that gave the Wildcats a 10 point lead. The quarter's offense would end with a 46 yd Toledo field goal by Evan Davis bringing the score to 24-17 Kentucky. The last 3 minutes of the 3rd would continue to be a defensive back and forth.
The 4th started with Toledo on the ball after they forced the punt from the Cats. Neither team would do much for the start of the 4th as there were a number of 4th down punts that would go back and forth. That was until Bowden pulled in a great pass for 30 yards. This was followed up by a 40 yard TD dash by Kavosiey Smoke to give the Cats a 31 -17 lead with 8:26 left to play. This would be followed up moments later with a DeAndre Square interception giving the Cats the ball again on the 33. This would lead to a Josh Ali touchdown that would set the Cats up for a 38 - 17 lead.
After a bit of sloppy play the Cats would give up a touchdown to end the game at 38 - 24. It wasn't pretty but it was a season opening win. The Cats are certainly going to need to make some adjustments before we play Florida in a few weeks if we hope to stand a chance. The performance today would not have been one that will stand that test.
That's not to say there weren't flashes of excitement for today. It was great to see DeAndre Square step up defensively with some key plays. It was also nice to see a bit more air action for the Cats with a number of receivers picking up some great catches. That combined with the semi success of the three back combo showed the offense can produce.
The Wildcats will play Eastern Michigan Eagles next weekend at 7:30pm in Commonwealth Stadium.