Multiple skirmishes broke out between Kentucky and Louisville football players midway through the first quarter of Saturday’s game at Kroger Field.
The altercation started between Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson and UK linebacker Jordan Jones, and the shoving and fighting continued between both teams, spilling onto the UK sideline.
Jackson, Jones, UK defensive back Lonnie Johnson and Louisville running back Malik Williams were all issued offsetting unsportsmanlike conduct penalties.
Louisville was already leading 7-0 when the fight broke out, and the Cardinals were driving for their second score of the game. Jackson, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, rushed the ball 9 yards to the UK 1. After the play, he and Jones exchanged shoves and ended up fighting on the ground while players from both teams became involved in that altercation as others broke out on the field and on the sideline near fans.
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Coaches came onto the field to break up players and walk them back to their respective sidelines.
U of L scored two plays later to go up 14-0 with 5:56 still left in the first quarter.
“We talked to them about it last night,” U of L Coach Bobby Petrino said after the game. “Obviously it’s not something I like to see. I was proud of our coaches being able to keep our guys on the sideline. Although it’s not fun to see your team over there outmanned, outnumbered. But the right thing to do was to kept our guys there.
“The officials did a good job. It was a hard game, an intense game. And I thought the officials took control of it and did a good job.”
Jones was whistled for consecutive personal foul penalties in the third quarter, and he returned to the field for a few plays later in the quarter.
“Jordan is an extremely emotional player, and there’s times when it gets the best of him, and I need to do a better job of working with him and holding him accountable and holding his feet to the fire on that,” said UK Coach Mark Stoops. “He is definitely an emotional guy. He needs to control that better. I’ve got to coach it better.
“I just think there was some — it wasn’t as blatant — you know what I mean? It was wrong. It was selfish. I need to talk to him. We need to do a better job of coaching him, but it wasn’t, I guess, blatant. That one was close when the whistle was blown there on the second one.”
UK’s Denzil Ware also picked up an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in the third quarter.
Louisville defensive lineman G.G. Robinson was ejected for targeting after a late, helmet-to-helmet hit on UK quarterback Stephen Johnson at the beginning of the fourth quarter.