Mark Story

Blue Review: Instant analysis from UK’s spring football game

Instant analysis from the Kentucky Wildcats’ spring football game:

How the game was won

Backup running back A.J. Rose ran for 134 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Blue Team (the offense) past the White Team (the defense) 45-32.

Game balls

1. A.J. Rose. After a quiet first two seasons at Kentucky, the redshirt sophomore-to-be running back looked like the guy who was hyped at time he signed.

2. Kash Daniel. The heir apparent to the graduated Courtney Love at middle linebacker, the former Paintsville High star (eight tackles, a forced fumble, one very nice pass defended against Lynn Bowden) showed some of the athletic fluidity Kentucky coaches have wanted to see.

3. DeAndre Square. For a guy who should still be in high school, the 6-foot-1, 205-pound true freshman from Detroit gave a solid account of himself (5 tackles) filling in for Jordan Jones at weakside linebacker.

4. Lynn Bowden. The true sophomore showed some of the improved route running (seven catches, 42 yards) that had been talk of spring.

5. The quarterbacks. Both Gunnar Hoak (14-for-25 passing for 121 yards and one TD) and Terry Wilson (10-for-24 for 131 yards with one interception that was not his fault) showed some promise. Neither likely did anything to secure that starting job.

6. The weather. Was glorious.

Running gassers

1. Nobody. C’mon, it was the spring game.

Key number(s)

Zero. Among difference-making stars Benny Snell, Josh Allen and Mike Edwards, Kentucky got through the spring game with no apparent injuries to any of the trio.

Fashion police

The Blue Team (offense) wore blue helmets, blue jerseys with white numbers and letters and white pants. The White Team (defense) wore blue helmets, white jerseys with blue numbers and letters and white pants.

Up next

Kentucky will open its 2018 football season against Central Michigan on Sept. 1 at Kroger Field. The start time and television information for that game have yet to be announced. The Chippewas won their final five regular-seasons games last season but lost to Wyoming 37-14 in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl in Boise to finish 8-5 (6-2 in Mid-American Conference).

Know your foe

1. In two seasons with former long-time NFL assistant John Bonamego (14-12, 9-7 MAC) as head coach, Central Michigan has gone 2-3 against Power 5 conference foes. Last season, the Chippewas won 45-27 at Kansas of the Big 12 and lost to the ACC’s Syracuse (41-17) and Boston College (28-8). Two years ago, CMU upset No. 22 Oklahoma State of the Big 12 30-27 but fell at Virginia of the ACC 49-35.

2. Central Michigan is 0-6 all-time against Kentucky. The teams have not met since 2011, when UK true freshman running back Josh Clemons broke a 13-13 second-half tie with an 87-yard touchdown scamper to spark the Wildcats to a 27-13 victory at the venue then known as Commonwealth Stadium.

3. With the graduation of starting quarterback Shane Morris (3,237 passing yards with 27 TD tosses in 2017), Central Michigan, like UK, will be breaking in a new starting QB in 2018. Senior Tommy Lazzaro, a former junior-college transfer, and 6-foot-7 sophomore Tony Poljan, who split time last season between quarterback and wide receiver, are the top two contenders. Ex-Ft. Thomas Highlands QB Austin Hergott is a redshirt freshman at CMU.

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