Kentucky Beats Akron 35-3

On Saturday the Kentucky Wildcats had their final tune-up before conference play begins. Facing their second Mid-American Conference foe in three games Mark Stoops was looking for improvement on both sides of the ball. What happened was another tale of two halves that UK’s done in every game. Let’s break it down as Kentucky Beats Akron 35-3

Bookend Positives

If you read our game preview we said one thing Kentucky’s been working on is playing faster. On the first drive of the game, they did just that. Going 75 yards in seven plays Devin Leary hit tight end Josh Kattus on a six-yard touchdown and it was 7-0 Cats.

From there Kentucky went three and out twice before striking on another big play. Leary hit Jordan Dingle on a long pass and it looked like another score. However, he fumbled and the Zips recovered in the end zone. That gave them a chance to break out their “Turnover Tire.” Yes, you read that correctly. Unfortunately for the BBN that wasn’t the only time they’d show it off. Later a Leary to Anthony Brown-Stephens touchdown was called back by a holding penalty.

Finally, before the half Kentucky put it all together as Leary hit Tayvion Robinson with a 22-yard score and it was 14-0 at the half. But again the Cats should have been up by more.

Following A Trend

In both games, Kentucky played much better in the second half than the first and that happened again in game three. After Akron got on the board with a field goal the UK signal caller put his stamp on a SportsCenter Top 10. Leary miraculously avoided a sack to hit Ray Davis who did the rest for an electric 58-yard score putting the Cats up 21-3. Davis wrapped up his huge day with a 55-yard touchdown run. Finally, North Carolina State transfer Demi Sumo-Karngbaye took it in to complete the scoring as Kentucky beat Akron 35-3.

Not only was it the first night game of the year for Kentucky but a landmark day for the school.

Golden Anniversary

This weekend marked a special one for the university as it was the 50th Anniversary of Commonwealth Stadium/Kroger Field. On September 15th, 1973 Kentucky beat Virginia Tech 31-26 in Fran Curci’s initial game as Wildcat head coach. The Wildcats’ record is now 185-141-4 overall at home. In addition, Stoops runs his record to 49-26 in Lexington.

Looking Ahead

With the win, Kentucky starts 3-0 for the third straight year. Next week they’ll not only hit the road for the first time but also start conference play. However, they won’t travel far heading to Nashville to face Vanderbilt.

The Cats are looking for some revenge on the Commodores from last year. Clark Lea’s team broke a 26-game SEC losing streak upsetting the Cats 24-21 in Lexington. Davis, who played for Vandy last year, was a big reason running for 129 yards and a score. The BBN is certainly happy to have him on the other sideline this year.

As for Akron, they travel to Indiana next week looking for an upset victory.

Final Thoughts

While it was nice to see Kentucky actually cover the point spread the game continued a troubling trend, playing poorly in the first half then much better in the second. In order to be successful in the conference they have to put four quarters together. Furthermore, the Cats continue to have issues with penalties, especially at the wrong time. Throw in three turnovers and let Akron win the time of possession and there’s still plenty to work on.

If you are looking for positives start with the backfield. Leary threw for 315 yards and three touchdowns and seems more comfortable with each game. This despite sitting out the last part of the fourth quarter after taking a big hit. Davis had a monster night with 169 total yards and two scores. In addition, Robinson continued his bounce-back season with five catches for 86 yards and a score.

Thanks for checking out our recap as Kentucky beats Akron 35-3. We’ll be back later in the week with a Vanderbilt preview.

Photo Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports