Oct 9, 2021; Lexington, Kentucky, USA; Kentucky Wildcats wide receiver Izayah Cummings (84) drops a pass in the end zone during the first quarter against the LSU Tigers at Kroger Field. Mandatory Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

No. 16 Kentucky remains undefeated, romping past LSU

Will Levis threw for three touchdowns and ran for two more as No. 16 Kentucky defeated LSU 42-21 in an SEC game Saturday night in Lexington, Ky.

Levis, who had just seven completions in Kentucky’s upset win against Florida a week earlier, completed 14 of 17 passes for 145 yards. He had thrown a total of two touchdown passes in three previous SEC games.

He rushed 11 times for 75 yards as the Wildcats (6-0, 4-0 SEC) finished with 330 rushing yards, including 147 by Chris Rodriguez Jr. and 104 by Kavosiey Smoke.

Max Johnson completed 22 of 38 for 261 yards with one touchdown and lost a fumble for the Tigers (3-3, 1-2).

LSU, which entered the game ranked second-to-last in the SEC in rushing (70.6), gained a season-high 147 yards on the ground, but much of that came after the Wildcats took control with a 21-0 lead. Tyrion Davis-Price had 147 yards and two touchdowns.

On the first possession of the second half, Kentucky ran the ball on six consecutive plays and gained 71 yards, the last yard coming on Levis’ touchdown run that gave the Wildcats a 21-0 lead.

The Tigers responded with their best drive of the game on the ensuing possession, marching 75 yards in nine plays. On fourth-and-goal, Davis-Price ran 1 yard for a touchdown that cut the deficit to 21-7.

Levis’ 5-yard touchdown run increased the lead to 28-7 at the end of the third quarter.

His 25-yard touchdown pass to JuTahn McClain made it 35-7 before Johnson threw a 41-yard touchdown to Malik Nabers and Davis-Price ran 2 yards for a score.

Rodriguez’s 18-yard touchdown run completed the scoring.

LSU reached its 49 on the first possession of the game before Johnson fumbled while being sacked and Kentucky recovered.

On fourth-and-goal, Levis threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Rodriguez, which gave the Wildcats a 7-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Levis added an 11-yard touchdown pass to Wan’Dale Robinson for a 14-0 halftime lead.

–Field Level Media

Kentucky's Joshua Paschal tackles Florida's Malik Davis for a loss Saturday night at Kroger Field in Lexington. Oct. 2, 2021

Kentucky Vs Florida October 2021

Kentucky upsets No. 10 Florida, ends home skid to Gators

Kentucky broke a 16-game home losing streak to No. 10 Florida on Saturday night when Jacquez Jones deflected a potential touchdown pass with nine seconds left to polish off a 20-13 upset in Lexington.

The Gators (3-2, 1-2 SEC) drove to the Wildcats’ 8-yard line and had fourth-and-goal. Gators quarterback Emory Jones appeared to have an open receiver in the end zone, but Jacquez Jones leaped and got a fingertip on the ball as the sellout crowd erupted.

Fans stormed the field as Kentucky (5-0, 3-0) ran out the clock on its first home win over Florida since 1986. The result could propel the Wildcats into the Top 25 when the new poll is announced on Sunday.

Kentucky took the lead for good with 6:36 left in the third quarter when Josh Paschal blocked a field goal that teammate Trevin Wallace returned 76 yards for a touchdown that made it 13-10.

Chris Rodriguez made it 20-10 when he rumbled 9 yards off right tackle with 11:32 remaining in the game, the highlight of his game-high 99 yards on 19 carries.

Emory Jones completed 23 of 31 passes for 203 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Wildcats quarterback Will Levis was 6 of 15 for just 74 yards with a touchdown.

Florida drew 15 penalties, eight of them false starts, for 115 yards.

After each team punted on its opening possession, Florida initiated scoring on its second drive. It went 75 yards in seven plays with Emory Jones finding Ja’Quavion Fraziars for a 7-yard touchdown pass, with Fraziars extending the ball across the goal line’s plane.

Kentucky needed just over 2 1/2 minutes to answer. Levis flipped a middle screen to Wan’Dale Robinson and he took care of the rest, slaloming 41 yards and breaking multiple tackles to tie the game with 5:19 left in the first quarter.

That was it for touchdowns for the half’s remainder as the teams settled into a defensive slugfest. The Gators did manage to take a 10-7 lead into the locker room, thanks to a 51-yard field goal by Jace Christmann with 5:32 remaining.

–Field Level Media

Sep 25, 2021; Columbia, South Carolina, USA; Kentucky Wildcats running back Chris Rodriguez Jr. (24) runs the ball against the South Carolina Gamecocks in the second quarter at Williams-Brice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

Kentucky grinds out 16-10 win over South Carolina

Chris Rodriguez Jr. ran for 144 yards to help the Kentucky Wildcats grind past the South Carolina Gamecocks 16-10 in Columbia, S.C., on Saturday night.

Rodriguez powered his way for 43 yards on five straight carries on a critical fourth-quarter drive, culminating in a Matt Ruffolo 27-yard field goal with 4:26 left to effectively put the game out of reach, 16-7.

After South Carolina (2-2, 0-2 SEC) responded with a Parker White 54-yard field goal on the ensuing drive to pull within 16-10, the Wildcats turned to the ground game and again had success.

Kavosiey Smoke burst through for 10 yards on second-and-1 to help the Wildcats burn more clock, and then Rodriguez grabbed another first down with 4 yards on third-and-2 to wrap things up.

Kentucky (4-0, 2-0) put up 230 yards on the ground compared to just 58 for South Carolina.

A 12-play, 75-yard drive to open the game staked the Wildcats to an early 7-0 lead. Smoke, who finished with 50 yards on 9 carries, scored on the ground from 15 yards out.

Quarterback Will Levis, who went 15-for-22 for 102 yards in the game, completed 3 of 4 passes on the drive and rushed for a key first down on third-and-1.

The Wildcats added a field goal at the end of the half to take a 10-0 lead into the break. Ruffolo was good from 43 yards out to cash in on a 10-play, 57-yard drive.

South Carolina’s first four drives culminated in 43 yards of offense.

The Gamecocks got things going on the opening drive of the second half, going 75 yards in 10 plays to cut the lead to 10-7. Luke Doty completed a 5-yard touchdown pass to Jalen Brooks, going 5 of 6 on the drive.

Kentucky responded, driving down to the South Carolina 5, but the drive bogged down and the Wildcats had to settle for a 21-yard Ruffolo field goal.

A fumble by Kentucky set up the next South Carolina scoring chance. But facing fourth-and-5 at the Kentucky 25 down 13-7, they turned down a field goal attempt and Doty couldn’t connect with Brooks at the first down marker.

The Gamecocks got second life a drive later when Josh Ali fumbled at midfield, which R.J. Roderick recovered with 11:32 to play. But another Doty pass fell incomplete, this time on fourth-and-3 from the Kentucky 40.

South Carolina finished 0-for-3 on fourth down, and just 3-for-12 on third down.

–Field Level Media

Kentucky   s Chris Rodriguez gets a first down on this run against Missouri.Sept. 11, 2021

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Chris Rodriguez has Kentucky rushing to meet Chattanooga

Chris Rodriguez Jr. has accumulated more rushing yards through two games than any running back in Kentucky history.

Rodriguez aims to post his third straight stellar outing when the Wildcats entertain FCS program Chattanooga on Saturday at Lexington, Ky.

The 5-11, 224-pound bruiser has 331 rushing yards for Kentucky (2-0) after gaining a career-high 206 in a 35-28 win over Missouri on Sept. 11.

Rodriguez scored three touchdowns (two rushing, one receiving) against the Tigers and is the 10th player in school history to reach 20 rushing scores.

“I wouldn’t say we played excellent but we wanted it more than they did,” Rodriguez told ESPN after the win.

The Wildcats are projected to have an easy time against the Mocs (1-1) but coach Mark Stoops doesn’t want to hear any such chatter.

“You would never hear me use the word ‘breather.’ That’s not in our vocabulary,” Stoops said at a press conference. “The only thing we’re interested in is pressing on and moving forward. Any great team, no matter what the competition level is, plays to the best of their ability, and that’s what we’re always trying to do.”

Kentucky quarterback Will Levis has passed for 546 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions, while wideout Wan’Dale Robinson has 10 receptions for 226 yards and two scores. Robinson is the first Wildcat to open the season with back-to-back 100-yard efforts since Craig Yeast in 1998.

Defensively, linebacker J.J. Weaver has 2.5 sacks for a program looking to record its 13th consecutive nonconference victory.

Chattanooga lost its opener 30-20 to Austin Peay before recovering for a 20-0 road win over North Alabama last Saturday.

The Mocs now step up in status but coach Rusty Wright maintains his team won’t be intimidated to play an SEC program.

“It doesn’t matter what level you’re at, you have to show up and play,” Wright said at a press conference. “Crazy things happen. One group’s focus might not be ready and the other is and by the time you look up, you are in the middle of a dogfight and sometimes it’s too late to recover.”

One player Chattanooga counts on is defensive lineman Devonnsha Maxwell, who matched a school record with 3.5 sacks against North Alabama.

“I wasn’t making very many plays at first and I just put my head down and defensively it came,” Maxwell said. “It just shows you have to be resilient.”

Ailym Ford rushed for 111 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries against North Alabama and leads the Mocs with 174 rushing yards.

–Field Level Media

Kentucky quarterback Will Levis hands off in the second half against the ULM Warhawks on Saturday at Kroger Field in Lexington.

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Missouri braces for explosive Kentucky offense

Kentucky will give its new-look offense a bigger test Saturday when SEC East rival Missouri comes to Lexington.

The Wildcats (1-0, 0-0 SEC) throttled Louisiana Monroe 45-10 in their opener while the Tigers (1-0, 0-0) got past Central Michigan, 34-24.

Kentucky quarterback Will Levis, a transfer from Penn State, completed 18 of 26 passes for 367 yards and four touchdowns for first-year coordinator Liam Coen, who came to the Wildcats from the Los Angeles Rams.

Chris Rodriguez rushed for 125 yards and a touchdown and receivers Josh Ali and Wan’Dale Robinson combined to catch 10 passes for 261 yards and three scores.

The Wildcats’ explosive season-opening debut got the attention of Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz.

“Totally different style, totally different feel,” Drinkwitz said. “(They) execute it at a high level, shifts, motions formation. Vertical shots, intermediate, middle-field throws, quick game, got the whole package.

“The only thing that’s a surprise to me is how quickly they’ve gotten to where they’re at. Sometimes when you come in as a new offensive coordinator, to make such drastic change, it’s kind of hard to get in that quickly. But they’re humming on all cylinders right now.”

Coen crossed paths with first-year Missouri defensive coordinator Steve Wilks in the NFL. Wilks was head coach of the Arizona Cardinals, then defensive coordinator of the Cleveland Browns

His defenses at Missouri look similar.

“They want to try to stop the run and challenge you on the perimeter to throw the football and challenge you to win one-on-one matchups,” Coen said. “That’s something that we have to try to defeat.”

But Missouri’s new-look defense had its hands full with Central Michigan. The Tigers yielded 475 yards offense, including 301 in the air.

The Tigers played turnover-free football on offense and got a breakout performance from running back Tyler Badie, who stepped into the starting role with 203 yards rushing, 40 yards receiving and two touchdowns.

Connor Bazelak completed 21 of 32 passes for 257 yards and two touchdowns, but the Tigers converted just one of their 11 third-down opportunities.

The Wildcats had won five consecutive games in the series until last season, when the Tigers won 20-10.

“Eli and I have built a friendship and I like him, but he kicked our butt,” Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said. “He kicked our butt. I’m not going to forget — that’s on my mind. He had his team more prepared than I was.”

–Field Level Media

Sep 4, 2021; Lexington, Kentucky, USA; The Kentucky Wildcats offense celebrates a touchdown scored by wide receiver Wan'Dale Robinson (1) during the second quarter against the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks at Kroger Field. Mandatory Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

Will Levis throws 4 TD passes as Kentucky beats ULM 45-10

Will Levis threw four touchdown passes in his Kentucky debut as the host Wildcats defeated Louisiana-Monroe 45-10 in the season opener for both teams Saturday afternoon.

Levis, a transfer from Penn State running first-year coordinator Liam Coen’s offense, completed 18 of 26 pass attempts for 367 yards.

Wan’Dale Robinson had two touchdown catches and 125 receiving yards and Josh Ali had one touchdown catch and 136 receiving yards for a Wildcats offense designed to improve a passing game that was the worst in the SEC the past two seasons.

The Warhawks, who were 0-10 last season, gained just 87 yards in the Louisiana-Monroe debuts of veteran head coach Terry Bowden and offensive coordinator Rich Rodriguez.

After scoring two touchdowns in both the first and second quarters, the Wildcats offense slowed down in the third quarter.

But Levis did throw a 57-yard completion to Isaiah Epps to set up Matt Ruffolo’s 45-yard field goal for the only points of the third quarter, giving Kentucky a 31-7 lead at the end of the period.

Levis threw a 4-yard touchdown to Brenden Bates to push the lead to 38-7 early in the fourth quarter and took the rest of the game off.

ULM punted on 10 consecutive possessions before Calum Sutherland kicked a 29-yard field goal. Michael Drennen II ran 4 yards for a Wildcats touchdown with 1:00 remaining.

On the first possession of the game, Levis’ first pass was intercepted by Jabari Johnson. That led to Kadyn Roach’s 4-yard touchdown run and a 7-0 ULM lead.

But Levis bounced right back with touchdown passes of 33 yards to Robinson and 58 yards to Ali on the Wildcats’ next two possessions to give them a 14-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Chris Rodriguez Jr. rushed two yards for a touchdown as Kentucky increased its lead to 21-7.

Levis and Robinson teamed on a 15-yard touchdown that gave the Wildcats a 28-7 halftime lead.

–Field Level Media

Jul 20, 2021; Hoover, Alabama, USA; Kentucky Wildcats head coach Mark Stoops speaks to the media during SEC Media Days at Hyatt Regency Birmingham. Mandatory Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

Six Kentucky players face burglary charges

Six football players from the University of Kentucky are facing first-degree burglary charges in Lexington, Ken.

Offensive lineman Reuben “R.J.” Adams, running back Robert “Jutahn” McClain, defensive back Andru Phillips, wide receiver Earnest Sanders IV, safety Devito Tisdale and defensive back Joel Williams were the players named by the Lexington Police Department.

Additionally, Tisdale is accused of wanton endangerment. He is accused of pointing a handgun at one of the victims.

The players are scheduled for arraignment on Friday.

Each charge stems from an incident at private party last March, in which the players are accused of crashing a private party, being asked to leave, and then returning with more individuals and at least one suspect pointing a firearm.

Kentucky coach Mark Stoops released the following statement: “I am aware of the situation that arose today. Out of respect for the legal process, I cannot comment on the charges. We have been aware of this matter since March, as we withheld the players from team activities while a student conduct review was held. Based on the outcome of the review, the players returned to activity in June.

“We are evaluating the current situation as we receive more information.”

–Field Level Media

Apr 17, 2021; Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA;  LSU Tigers offensive tackle Dare Rosenthal (51) and LSU Tigers wide receiver Kayshon Boutte (1) pose for the camera on a time out during the first half of the annual Purple and White spring game at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

LSU transfer Dare Rosenthal chooses Kentucky

Former LSU offensive lineman Dare Rosenthal took to Twitter on Thursday to announce his transfer to Kentucky.

The 6-foot-7 left tackle entered the transfer portal in late June after starting eight games over two seasons in Baton Rouge, La.

“Leaving LSU was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make,” Rosenthal tweeted, in part. “After much thought and prayer, I’ve decided to attend the University of Kentucky. My decision was not based on my athleticism alone — it was based on me attending the University that I believe can help mold and shape me into a better man and help me reach my full potential on the field.”

A four-star recruit in the Class of 2018, Rosenthal played in five games (three starts) as a redshirt freshman for the Tigers’ undefeated national championship team in 2019.

After briefly leaving school for personal reasons and missing spring practice in 2020, he returned and started two games before being indefinitely suspended in October. Rosenthal was reinstated and started three more games.

–Field Level Media

Nov 16, 2019; Oxford, MS, USA; Mississippi Rebels linebacker Jacquez Jones (10) lines up against the Louisiana State Tigers in the first half at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

Former Ole Miss LB Jacquez Jones signs with Kentucky

Former Ole Miss leading tackler Jacquez Jones will stay in the SEC and play for Kentucky in 2021.

The 6-foot, 235-pound linebacker has two seasons of eligibility remaining.

“We are thrilled to add Jacquez to our team,” Wildcats coach Mark Stoops said Thursday in a news release announcing the signing. “He’s an experienced playmaker who has been a great leader in our league.”

Jones appeared in 33 games (19 starts) with Ole Miss from 2018-20, totaling 182 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks and three forced fumbles.

He started nine of the Rebels’ 10 games in 2020, leading the team with 75 tackles and adding 2.5 tackles for loss.

Kentucky, which finished 5-6 last season (4-6 SEC), opens the season at home on Sept. 4 against Louisiana Monroe.

–Field Level Media

Aug 31, 2019; Arlington, TX, USA; Oregon Ducks wide receiver coach Jovon Bouknight on the sidelines during the game against the Auburn Tigers at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Kentucky assistant Jovon Bouknight arrested on DUI charge

Kentucky wide receivers coach Jovon Bouknight was arrested Saturday morning in northern Kentucky and charged with driving under the influence.

According to multiple reports, Bouknight was arrested at 3:56 a.m. by the Erlanger Police Department.

The Courier-Journal of Louisville reported that Bouknight was also charged with possession of an open alcoholic beverage and for driving 26 mph or more over the speed limit, citing Kenton County public records.

Bouknight has a court appearance scheduled for Friday.

The 37-year-old Bouknight is entering his second season at Kentucky after previous coaching stops at Utah State, Texas Tech and Oregon.

Bouknight was a college star at Wyoming and caught 250 passes for 3,626 yards and 29 touchdowns in 47 games from 2002-05. The catches rank second in school history and the yardage and touchdown catches are third.

He topped 1,000 receiving yards twice and had his best campaign as a senior when he had 77 receptions for 1,116 yards and 12 scores.

–Field Level Media