Kentucky Blasts Louisiana-Monroe 45-10

Cats Roll After Slow Start

Coming into the 2021 season expectations are as high as they’ve ever been for Kentucky. With new offensive coordinator Liam Coen and new quarterback Will Levis many think Mark Stoops’ ninth team is an SEC East dark horse. However, the Big Blue Nation didn’t know what to expect since other than a scrimmage at Fan Day no one’s actually seen the offense. If Saturday is any indication the new-look attack is very exciting. Let’s recap the first game of 2021 as Kentucky Blasts Louisiana-Monroe 45-10.

A Really Bad Start

Things didn’t get off on the right foot for Levis and the Cats. Three plays into the game Jabari Johnson intercepted a tipped ball setting up the Warhawks with great field position. The Kentucky defense held forcing ULM to settle for a field goal. It was good however a personal foul on UK gave Louisiana-Monroe the ball at the 12-yard line. Four players later Kadyn Roach put Terry Bowden’s team up 7-0. In addition, it was the first time since the 2019 season that ULM had the lead. That led many True Blue Fans to say “oh no here we go again.” However, the lead was short-lived.

Very Quick Recovery

Levis shook off the pick by throwing back-to-back touchdowns. The first going to Wan’Dale Robinson for 33 yards followed up by a 58-yard strike to Josh Ali as the Cats raced out to a 28-7 halftime lead. We’ve talked all summer about how the Cats were opening up the offense and the receivers would be involved much more than in years past. It’s only one game but it was certainly evident today. 11 different Kentucky receivers caught passes and Ali and Robinson both went for over 100 yards. It’s been a long time since that happened.

For the game, Levis completed 18 of 26 passes for 367 yards and four touchdowns. He finished 33 yards of being the first Kentucky quarterback since Andre Woodson in 2007 to throw for 400 yards. If you read our game preview earlier this week we told you the big key for the offense was balanced. The Cats ran for 135 yards on the day, a majority of those by Chris Rodriguez, who gained 125 and a touchdown. For the game, UK had 557 total yards. Counting Beau Allen‘s 57 passing yards Kentucky threw for 419, the most since gaining 422 against Tennessee-Martin in 2014. Furthermore, it’s the first time the Cats had a 300 yard passer, 100 yard runner, and two 100 yard receivers in a game since 2006 versus Vanderbilt.

On the other side of the ball after that opening series, Brad White’s defense really put the clamps down on the Warhawks. Kentucky finished with six sacks, 13 tackles for loss, and held ULM to only 87 yards. Josh Paschal led the way with seven tackles and a sack. In addition, DeAndre Square added six tackles, including 3.5 for a loss, and a sack.

Continuing with our recap as Kentucky blasts Louisiana-Monroe 45-10 we look at a pretty funny thing that happened during the contest.

Close But No…Banana???

Earlier in the summer, Levis went viral for a TikTok video showing him eating an entire banana, peel and all. Heading into Saturday’s game SEC Network sideline reporter Alyssa Lang said she’d eat one if the UK signal-caller threw for over 300 yards. Of course, he did and she made good on her promise.

She asked Stoops what it would take to get him to eat a banana and he said 400 yards passing. Of course with the Cats up big Levis sat most of the fourth quarter finishing with 367 yards. Maybe another week for Coach Stoops and the Big Blue Nation. Speaking of the UK head man Saturday’s win was a very significant one.

A Milestone Victory

With the win on Saturday Stoops made history. He now has 50 victories at Kentucky making him only the second coach in school history to reach that mark. Only the legendary Bear Bryant with 60 wins has more. In his eight years in Lexington Bryant went 60-23-5 and was awarded the 1951 National Championship. Should UK have the season many think they will then Stoops should be close to the Bear at the end of 2021. We’ll have a lot more on Stoops reaching 50 wins later this week here at Last Word On College Football.

Looking Ahead

The 1-0 Cats have a big game coming up next Saturday when they host Missouri under the lights at 7:30 on the SEC Network. Much like UK, the Tigers are also 1-0 as they had a tougher than expected time with Central Michigan winning 34-24. A season ago Eli Drinkwitz’s club broke a five-game losing streak to Kentucky with a 20-10 victory. 

On the other side of the ball, the Warhawks try to break their 12 game losing streak when they host Jackson State of the SWAC Conference. Their last win was a 45-42 win over Coastal Carolina on November 23, 2019.

Again behind Levis’ big day, Kentucky blasts Louisiana-Monroe 45-10. Thanks for checking out our recap here at Last Word On College Football and watch for our ranking of Stoops’ biggest wins at UK later this week.