UK Football

It’s official: Lynn Bowden announced as Kentucky’s starting QB against Arkansas

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Game day: Kentucky vs. Arkansas

Click below for more of’s coverage of Saturday’s Kentucky-Arkansas football game at Kroger Field in Lexington.

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Two weeks of speculation gave way to reality: University of Kentucky wide receiver Lynn Bowden is UK’s starting quarterback against Arkansas.

Bowden, a junior, played quarterback in high school and has taken direct snaps as part of UK’s wildcat formation during his time in the program. Entering Saturday’s game he was 3-for-4 passing for 39 yards and had rushed 13 times for 99 yards, third on the team behind running backs A.J. Rose and Kavosiey Smoke.

Bowden was announced as the starting quarterback about 25 minutes prior to kickoff at Kroger Field; fans applauded the announcement.

Sawyer Smith, a graduate transfer from Troy, started UK’s previous three games and was listed as the No. 1 quarterback on the Wildcats’ depth chart this week. He had played with two injuries to his throwing arm — he hurt his wrist against Florida in his first start and hurt his shoulder the next week at Mississippi State. Smith also sustained an injury to a “lower extremity” at some point before or during the South Carolina game, head coach Mark Stoops revealed this week.

Smith was thrust into the starting role after Terry Wilson, UK’s incumbent starter, suffered a season-ending knee injury in the Wildcats’ 38-17 win over Eastern Michigan. Smith took over late in the third quarter of that game and threw two touchdown passes in his debut; he’s 54-of-117 with four TDs and five interceptions overall in four games.

Bowden through five games is Kentucky’s leader in receptions (30) and receiving yardage (348). He joined Randall Cobb and Matt Roark as wide receivers who’ve started under center for the Wildcats.

Cobb, as a freshman in 2008, led UK to a win at Mississippi State in his first start at quarterback but was 1-3 overall as a starter. Roark, a senior, led UK in a win over Tennessee that snapped a 26-game losing streak in 2011 in his only start at the position.

Josh Ali was announced as the starting punt returner in place of Bowden.


Bowden went 4-for-4 for 65 yards in the first half against Arkansas. Rose also completed a pass for 10 yards.

Bowden rushed for 45 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries. UK trailed 13-7 at halftime.

Josh Moore is in his first year covering the University of Kentucky football team and in his fifth year reporting for the Lexington Herald-Leader, where he’s been employed since 2009. Moore, a Martin County native, graduated from UK with a B.A. in Integrated Strategic Communication and English in 2013. He’s a huge fan of the NBA, Power Rangers and country music.