Instant analysis from Kentucky’s 40-33 win over Louisiana-Lafayette:
How the game was won
Kentucky blew all of a 33-10 third-quarter lead but averted disaster when Mikel Horton rumbled 12 yards for the winning touchdown with 57 seconds left.
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1. Melvin Lewis. With all the momentum going against Kentucky, the UK senior made the play of the game by hitting Louisiana-Lafayette star Elijah McGuire for a 3-yard loss. That play was integral in forcing the Ragin’ Cajuns to punt the ball back to the Cats for what became the winning drive.
2. Paducah Tilghman High School. Ex-Blue Tornado standout Josh Forrest had 15 tackles and the game-clinching interception; his former PT teammate J.D. Harmon had six stops, a forced fumble, an interception and a 62-yard kickoff return.
3. Stanley “Boom” Williams. Ran for 135 yards, and his 75-yard TD jaunt on UK’s first play from scrimmage was electrifying.
1. Patrick Towles. After the UK junior went 6-of-16 passing in the second half, a lot of the questions about accuracy that people have always had about the ex-Fort Thomas Highlands star will arise again.
2. Kentucky defense. Louisiana-Lafayette is a quality football program, but still, allowing 479 yards to a Sun Belt Conference foe is not encouraging.
3. Mark Stoops. The second half will raise doubts about the direction of the UK program — but it was not nearly as disastrous as losing would have been.
132. After UK gained 303 yards in first half, it had only 132 after halftime.
For their 2015 season opener, the Wildcats went traditional in dress with blue helmets, blue jerseys and white pants.
Kentucky travels south to face South Carolina (1-0, 0-0 SEC) at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia. The Gamecocks beat North Carolina 17-13 in Charlotte in their season opener in spite of being outgained 440 yards to 394.
Know Your Foe
1. Kentucky has not won in Columbia since Dusty Bonner quarterbacked the Cats to a 30-10 victory over then-South Carolina coach Lou Holtz’s Gamecocks on Oct. 9, 1999. That’s seven losses in a row for the Cats in Williams-Brice Stadium.
2. Current Gamecocks head man Steve Spurrier is 20-2 all-time vs. Kentucky – 12-0 at Florida (1990-2001) and 8-2 at South Carolina (2005-present). UK has beaten Spurrier two of the last five (2010 and 2014), however.
3. Junior linebacker Skai Moore bailed South Carolina out in a game it probably should have lost against North Carolina. The 6-foot-2, 218-pound junior from Cooper City, Fla., intercepted two UNC passes in the end zone. He also made a team-high 10 tackles.