Instant analysis from Kentucky's 34-27 overtime victory over Eastern Kentucky at Commonwealth Stadium on Saturday night:
Instant analysis from UK’s 34-27 overtime win over Eastern Kentucky:
How the game was won
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With Kentucky down 27-13 and on the verge of an embarrassing loss to FCS Eastern Kentucky, Patrick Towles led three straight TD drives to allow UK (4-1) to escape. Who’s up
1. Patrick Towles. After a difficult first half (10-for-19 for 121 yards with two interceptions), the UK QB was stellar in half two, completing 19 of 22 for 218 yards and three TD passes.
2. Dorian Baker. The UK wide receiver (eight catches for 86 yards) made the game-tying TD catch and then the game-winner in OT.
3. Cory “C.J.” Johnson. The reigning SEC Defensive Player of the Week had a monster game — 19 tackles, 2.5 TFL, with one sack and one quarterback hurry.
4. Eastern Kentucky. At the end of a very difficult week. Dean Hood’s Colonels did the legacy of a tradition-rich football program proud. EKU deserved a better fate. Who’s down
1. Kentucky offensive line. EKU is a very good defense, but an SEC offense should not be held under 100 yards rushing (55) against an FCS defense.
2. UK special teams. Eastern return man Stanley Absanon had a huge impact on the game with a long punt return and a long kickoff return.
180-55. Eastern outrushed UK decisively.
For Homecoming, 2015, the Wildcats went traditional in dress — white helmets, blue jerseys and white pants. Up next
Kentucky is off Oct. 10 but returns to action Oct. 15 against Auburn in the first Thursday night UK game in Commonwealth Stadium history at 7 p.m. on ESPN. Peyton Barber ran for 147 yards and five TDs to lead Auburn (3-2, 0-2 SEC) past San Jose State 35-21 Saturday.
Know your foe 1. Auburn’s last appearance in Commonwealth Stadium in 2010 was memorable, as Cam Newton and the Tigers needed a last-second field goal to escape with a 37-34 win. Auburn went on to finish undefeated and win the BCS championship.
2. Randall Cobb led UK’s most recent victory over Auburn in 2009, sparking a fourth-quarter rally to lift Kentucky past the host Tigers 21-14. The Wildcats have not beaten Auburn in Lexington since winning 17-7 in 1966.
3. Auburn began the season ranked No. 6 in the country. Gus Malzahn’s Tigers beat Louisville 31-24 to begin the season, but followed that up with an overtime victory over Jacksonville State of the OVC and SEC losses at LSU and to Mississippi State. The Tigers have switched starting quarterbacks, with Sean White replacing Jeremy Johnson in the Mississippi State game.