In the four games since going 3-of-9 passing in Kentucky’s win over Vanderbilt, Terry Wilson has completed 70.4 percent of his throws (76-of-108) with four touchdowns vs. two interceptions. The 6-foot-3, 205-pound sophomore is also UK’s second-leading rusher (439 yards). Louisville has played four QBs this season. One, freshman Jordan Travis, has left the team with plans to transfer. Redshirt sophomore Jawon Pass has started nine games. A pocket passer, the 6-4, 235-pound Pass is completing 54 percent for 1,960 yards with eight TDs vs. 12 interceptions. Redshirt freshman Malik Cunningham has started two games, including last week’s 52-10 loss to North Carolina State when Pass was suspended for the first quarter by U of L interim head coach Lorenzo Ward. The 6-1, 190-pound Cunningham ran for 100 yards on 14 carries vs. N.C. State, and is Louisville’s leading rusher (408 yards).
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Kentucky star Benny Snell (1,205 yards, 12 TDs) needs 207 yards to eclipse Sonny Collins (3,835 yards from 1972-75) as UK’s all-time leading rusher. Louisville has not had a running back rush for 100 yards in a game this season. Speedy true freshman Hassan Hall (272 yards, three TDs) and redshirt freshman Colin Wilson (174 yards, one TD in seven games) are on top of the U of L depth chart this week.
Kentucky sophomore Isaiah Epps had a career-high three catches (for 24 yards) in last week’s 34-23 victory over Middle Tennessee State. A 6-2, 181-pound product of Jenks, Okla., Epps has eight catches for 76 yards on the season. Sophomore slot receiver Lynn Bowden, UK’s leading receiver (56 catches, 575 yards, three TDs), had only one catch vs. MTSU. Entering 2018, wide receiver was considered Louisville’s strongest offensive position. The season has not gone according to script for veterans Jaylen Smith (34 catches, 518 yards, one TD) or Dez Fitzpatrick (30, 414, three). However, 5-9, 156-pound true freshman TuTu Atwell (24 catches, 406 yards, team-best 16.9 yards a catch, two TDs) has been a bright spot.
Since going without a catch against Vanderbilt, Kentucky senior C.J. Conrad has 11 catches and three TDs in the four games since. For the season, the 6-5, 252-pound product of LaGrange, Ohio, is second on the UK team in receptions (27) and receiving yards (238) and tied for the team lead in TD catches (three). Louisville senior Micky Crum has made 21 catches for 215 yards with one TD.
Kentucky’s Darian Kinnard, a 6-5, 357-pound true freshman, made his first career start Saturday against MTSU. “Darian did a really good job. I was very pleased with Darian,” UK Coach Mark Stoops said. Louisville center Cole Bentley, a 6-3, 316-pound sophomore from Belfry, starts in the middle of a Cardinals front that has surrendered a whopping 41 quarterback sacks in 2018.
Kentucky got ample production from its down three in the victory over MTSU. End Calvin Taylor had four tackles. Nose guard Quinton Bohanna had three tackles and a sack. Tackles Adrian Middleton and Phil Hoskins also each had a sack. Louisville redshirt sophomore end Tabarius Peterson leads the Cardinals in tackles for loss (6.5) and sacks (two) and is fourth in tackles (48). Manual product Derek Dorsey, a redshirt sophomore, has two QB hurries at end.
Capping a dominant season, OLB/rush end Josh Allen set Kentucky records for career sacks (27.5) and single-season sacks (13) last week against Middle Tennessee. If that weren’t enough, the 6-5, 260-pound senior also set a career single-game high with 15 tackles vs. the Blue Raiders. WLB Jordan Jones will look to write a better chapter against U of L. In last season’s 44-17 UK loss, Jones was involved in a fight with Lamar Jackson and received multiple personal-foul penalties. Louisville sophomore MLB Dorian Etheridge (53 tackles, four TFL, four pass breakups, two fumble recoveries) has a nose for the football.
In his final Kentucky home game, senior strong safety Mike Edwards turned in a gem vs. Middle Tennessee. The 6-foot, 200-pound product of Cincinnati had 12 tackles, two TFL, returned an interception 66 yards for a TD and set up a second UK score with a forced fumble. Louisville senior strong safety Dee Smith is the Cardinals’ leading tackler (65). Sophomore backup cornerback Russ Yeast, the son of ex-UK wide receiver star Craig Yeast, briefly quit the Louisville team but has returned after the firing of Bobby Petrino.
Kentucky senior place-kicker Miles Butler regained last week the starting job he had previously lost and successfully booted field goals of 38 and 32 yards vs. MTSU. Australian punter Max Duffy has not been as consistent late in the season as he was early. Still, for the season, Duffy has stopped 25 of 51 kicks inside the opponents’ 20-yard line. Louisville punter Mason King has kicked a robust 63 times for an average of 40.7 yards. Place-kicker Blanton Creque is 9-of-11 on field goals with a long of 46 yards. Both punt returner Rodjay Burns (55 yards vs. Indiana State) and kickoff returner Hassan Hall (93 yards vs. Clemson) have return touchdowns this season.
Kentucky 38, Louisville 21
Mark Story: (859) 231-3230; Twitter: @markcstory