UK receiver Alexander Montgomery out for season with torn ACL

jsmith3@herald-leader.comNovember 4, 2013 

  • Tennessee at Kentucky

    When: 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 30

    TV: ESPNU

    Records: Kentucky 2-9 (0-7 SEC); Tennessee 4-7 (1-6)

Two of Kentucky's top three receivers likely won't be available to play against Missouri on Saturday.

At his weekly news conference, Coach Mark Stoops announced that freshman Alexander Montgomery is out for the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

Montgomery, UK's third-leading receiver with 16 catches for 137 yards and two touchdowns, hurt his knee against Alabama State while celebrating one of those two scores.

"It's not good," Stoops said. "It's not good news with Alex. He'll be out for the remainder of the year."

The freshman from Weston, Fla., was going up for a chest bump with fellow wideout Demarco Robinson and tight end Anthony Kendrick when he landed on his leg strangely and crumpled to the field.

"It was three of us that jumped, so I guess when he came down it came down wrong on his knee," Robinson said after the victory.

Kentucky also might be without wideout Ryan Timmons, who badly sprained his ankle in the game against the Hornets, Stoops said.

The versatile freshman from Frankfort is second on the team in receiving yards (27 catches for 295 yards and two TDs) and the team's fourth-best rusher, with 11 carries for 89 yards.

Kentucky did get one piece of good news on the injury front: Javess Blue should be able to play against the Tigers on Saturday at Commonwealth Stadium.

The junior college transfer had a freak accident before the Alabama State game when he took a ball to the face during warmups. The ball caused Blue's eye to swell and he wasn't able to see to play.

Blue leads the Cats' air attack with 28 catches for 346 yards and two touchdowns this season.

Offensive coordinator Neal Brown said he was meeting with some recruits before the game and got word of Blue's injury from wide receivers coach Tommy Mainord.

"We just kind of adjusted," Brown said of Blue. "We had a lot of things, we were going to try to get him involved early in the game, so we kind of had to adjust a few plays there."

The rest of the UK offense seemed shaken by the Blue and Montgomery injuries, Brown said after the win.

"It's tough, because you're watching guys that you're spending all your time with that are getting hurt. I think it probably did affect that receiver group a little bit," Brown said. "Javess gets hurt during the pregame, then Alex goes out early. Those guys are kind of like, 'What's next?' But you got to move on, next man up, take advantage of the opportunities."

The options for the "next man up" are thin, with just five scholarship wide receivers remaining who have caught at least one pass this season.

"We're getting pretty thin," Stoops said Monday. "It was nice to see some guys last week step up. I thought Jeff Badet played his best game. That was good to see. Demarco, we need to continue to get him healthy and get him back in the fold doing some good things. A.J. (Legree) is doing some better things as well, so that's a good sign."

On the latest UK depth chart released Monday, Daryl Collins and Ronnie Shields are listed as the players behind Timmons. They have combined for two catches and 12 yards this season.

Blue is listed ahead of Montgomery at the other wide receiver spot with sophomore Legree (four catches for 36 yards) behind him.

Kentucky's other top receivers, Demarco Robinson and Jeff Badet, are listed at the same receiver spot.

The only other Kentucky receiver who has caught a pass this season is walk-on Joey Herrick, a late transfer from Kilgore College in Texas. He's caught three passes for 22 yards.

Look for Kentucky's veteran rotation of tight ends to see even more catches as well. So far, Jordan Aumiller, Anthony Kendrick and Steven Borden have a combined 18 catches for 253 yards and one touchdown.

"We need to continue to work those guys," Stoops said.

After the win over Alabama State, Brown said the tight ends helped as UK's receivers continued to go down.

Missouri has put up amazing numbers this season, but the Tigers are the Southeastern Conference's worst pass defense and 115th out of 125 teams nationally in that category, allowing opponents to average 279.3 yards a game through the air.

But the Tigers do capitalize when given chances, hauling in a league-best 17 interceptions this season, which is second most in the nation. They've taken two back for TDs.

Kentucky's defense has had 17 or more picks only three times in the past 30 years. The Cats have picked off one pass so far this season.

Vanderbilt game set

Kentucky's game at Vanderbilt on Nov. 16 will be played at 12:21 p.m. and be shown on SEC TV. It will be the first time this season UK has played on SEC TV.


Saturday

Missouri at Kentucky

When: Noon

TV: ESPNU

Jennifer Smith: (859) 231-3241. Twitter: @jenheraldleader. Blog: ukfootball.bloginky.com.

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