The Mark Stoops era as Kentucky’s head football coach got underway with a bang on Saturday night. Commonwealth Stadium set an attendance record with 50,831 fans showing up in support of the Wildcats. The fans that made the journey to Lexington were not disappointed as the Blue beat the White team 24-23.
The scene around the stadium was a big change from what we have witnessed the past several years. Last year’s attendance was 4500. This season 40,000 people were in the parking lots surrounding Commonwealth Stadium tailgating and having a great time. I have not seen this much excitement around this program in a very long time. As you would walk around talking to people, everyone is just so excited to have Mark Stoops as head coach. The cat walk started at 5:15 and Coach Stoops said he was overwhelmed by the fans that showed up to watch the cats enter the stadium.
Jalen Whitlow was the most impressive player I saw on the field Saturday night. He was accurate with his throws. Whitlow completed 17-28 passes for 193 yards and one touchdown. Jalen also ran for 58 yards on just 5 carries.
While Whitlow was the star of the game several other players also made big contributions. Rashad Cunningham caught 8 passes for 80 yards. Demarco Robinson led the way in receiving yards by hauling in 6 catches for 93 yards. Dyshawn Mobley led all players in rushing, picking up 80 yards on 15 carries. Josh Clemons added 56 yards on 10 carries in his first game action since suffering a knee injury his freshman season.
Jalen Whitlow looks like he may be the guy to beat in the quarterback competition, but the other three guys had respectable games. Max Smith completed 11 of 18 passes with one touchdown. Patrick Towles was 6-14 with a touchdown, and Reese Phillips was 10-12 with a touchdown.
With the spring game in the books I think the Big Blue Nation has a lot to look forward to this fall. This team will be very competitive this season.