LEXINGTON, KY - Prior to Saturday, the last time Ohio’s Bobcats met the Kentucky Wildcats OU emerged with the victory. Not this time. The Wildcats are now 2-0 for the first time since 2011 after defeating Ohio, 20-3, at Commonwealth Stadium.
Kentucky was able to improve its overall record against Ohio to 4-2 thanks in large part to quarterback Patrick Towles who led the Wildcats’ pass and ground games. The sophomore Towles finished with 170 yards passing and 59 yards rushing on 22 carries.
The quarterback followed up with back-to-back 11-yard runs, which moved Kentucky deep into Ohio territory. Three plays later on 3rd and goal, Towles found wide receiver Dorian Baker in the end zone for an 8 yard touchdown putting the Wildcats up 7-0 with 11:27 remaining in the first quarter.
After a quick three-and-out series by the Bobcats, Kentucky’s high-octane offense found success once again with a 53-yard touchdown by running back Stanley “Boom” Williams. That capped off an eight play, 80-yard drive that took just over two minutes.
That touchdown, however, proved to be the last of the game as the Wildcats went on to add two field goals and Ohio tacked on one of its own.
Ohio’s disappointing first quarter included zero pass yards and only one first down. That led to head coach Frank Solich replacing quarterbck Derrius Vick for sophomore J.D. Sprague.
“We did not execute very well early on in the game, and that cost us, and you know they certainly took advantage of that,” Solich said. “We didn’t handle the beginning of the game very well. After we settled in, I thought we battled them pretty good.”
Sprague did not waste his opportunity as he completed 13-of-25 passes for 143 yards compared to Vick, who had zero yards passing on six incompletions, two of which were dropped passes by running back Daz’mond Patterson.
Patterson, who fumbled twice last week against Kent State, struggled once again in Lexington as he dropped a perfect fade pass from Vick early in the first quarter and only managed to accumulate 44 yards on the ground.
Sprague was able to make up for the Bobcats struggling ground game by leading the Bobcats on their first drive of the second half with a 36-yard pass to Brendan Cope and a 17-yard pass to Patterson. The drive culminated with a 44-yard field goal by Josiah Yazdani.
“All week I had to prepare like I was going to go in, and when I did, it just kind of came natural,” Sprague said. “The other guys looked to me and they didn’t lose faith in me.”
Unfortunately for the OU, the field goal was their only score in the game as the offense stalled against the Wildcats’ superior defense.
Although Kentucky had trouble finding the end zone after the first quarter, it was still able to pick up over 400 yards of total offense, including 232 rushing yards by three different tailbacks and Towles.
Kentucky looks to extend its winning streak next week on the road against the Florida Gators, while the Bobcats travel to Marshall to take on the Thundering Herd at noon.