UK Football

UK notes: Backup QBs see action, lead scoring drives

Western Kentucky's Willie McNeal returned a kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown late in the second quarter, marking the second week in a row Kentucky's special teams gave up a big return.
Western Kentucky's Willie McNeal returned a kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown late in the second quarter, marking the second week in a row Kentucky's special teams gave up a big return. Ken Weaver

Kentucky's relatively easy 63-28 win over Western Kentucky allowed backup quarterbacks Morgan Newton and Ryan Mossakowski to see their first action of this season.

In fall camp, Coach Joker Phillips had said that the No. 2 spot behind starter Mike Hart-line was up for grabs, and it was Newton who got the first call when Hartline exited the game late in the third quarter.

Newton completed both of his passes for 48 yards, including a 40-yard pass on the move to Matt Roark that set up Raymond Sanders' 10-yard run with 6:26 remaining.

Mossakowski came in on the game's last series, and while he didn't attempt a pass, he also led a scoring drive, as Sanders scored another TD on a 1-yard run with 1:34 left.

"It was (good) to get them all in the game for as many snaps as they can get," Phillips said. "We're going to need all three of them before the season is over. I mean, we've got a tough schedule. It's hard to hold up at any position. So we've got to get those guys some snaps as often as we can."

Pioneers honored

Even on the busy sideline, Phillips took some time to notice some old friends and mentors being honored in the end zone during the game, including Nat Northington, Wilbur Hackett, Houston Hogg and Greg Page's nephew, Sean.

Seeing them there gave the first-year Kentucky head coach "cold chills," he said.

Northington was the first African-American player in Southeastern Conference history (1967), Hackett was the first African-American captain in any sport in SEC history (1970).

"We had them in the locker room," Phillips said. "They were the guys we gave the game balls to. Those are the true pioneers. Those are the guys who paved the way for me to have this opportunity, and I appreciate those guys."

Randall Cobb of defense?

Luke McDermott didn't even practice this week, but he came up with a big defensive play regardless.

"I spent most of the week in the training room," the junior defensive tackle said. "It was hard to stay focused and prepare for the right things, but I was able to do it."

A week after getting his first career sack, the walk-on got his first college interception and ran it back six yards.

The quiet, mild-mannered player called it "really cool."

"I just read the screen and stayed focused on the ball and got it," he said. "It's a shame I couldn't have a better run once I had it."

Phillips was impressed.

"I mean, he's just all over the place," Phillips said. "Maybe he's becoming the Randall Cobb of defense."

Extra points

UK's 28-point second quarter and 42-point first half tied for the second highest in school history in each category. The records were set in 1950 vs. North Dakota.

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