Kentucky and Joker Phillips had the Senior Night they wanted as they crushed FCS opponent Samford 34-3 in front of a light crowd at Commonwealth Stadium.
Kentucky had a nice start to the game, scoring twice and taking a quick 14-0 lead behind the arm and legs of quarterback Jalen Whitlow.
Whitlow threw a 11 yard touchdown pass to Gene McCaskill to cap off a 5-5 for 27 yards passing on the drive. The Kentucky freshman also ran for a 20 yard touchdown to extend the lead to 2 touchdowns, as Whitlow used his athleticism to scramble and dart to the endzone.
The 2nd quarter saw each team trade field goals, with Samford kicking a 45 yarder, and Kentucky’s Craig McIntosh making a 35 yard field goal to make the score 17-3.
Patrick Towles took over at quarterback with around 6 minutes left in the 2nd quarter and promptly drove the offense to within striking distance. The big play was a 19 yard completion to Aaron Boyd, with a targeting penalty on Samford pushing the ball to inside the 10 yard line. Kentucky decided to run Jonathan George to try and get the touchdown, but George fumbled on the 2 and Samford recovered.
The Kentucky defense held on the next series and Samford had to punt from their own endzone. That didn’t turn out so well as the Wildcats started on the Samford 33 yard line.
Patrick Towles began the drive with a 14 yard pass to Aaron Boyd and then a completion for 5 yards to La’Rod King to set up a 14 yard touchdown run by Raymond Sanders to make the score 24-3 with 1:07 left in the 1st half.
The next drive by Samford resulted in another score by the Wildcats, this time by the defense. Donte Rumph sacked Samford’s Andy Summerlin and Tristian Johnson ran the ball 25 yards into the endzone to make it a 31-3 game.
Kentucky went into the locker room with their biggest lead of the season, leading 31-3 at the half.
The 2nd half started off with a long Samford drive but then tried a triple reverse pass, that was thought to be intercepted by Kentucky corner Cody Quinn, but was overturned after a review. The Bulldogs eventually had to go for it on 4th and 8 on their own 37 yard line and a deep pass fell incomplete and Kentucky took over on the UK 37.
Kentucky started the half with Jalen Whitlow at quarterback and he proceeded to hand it off to Jonathan George for 3 straight plays and a first down. Whitlow then acted like he was walking off the field and center Matt Smith direct snapped to Raymond Sanders for 27 yards and a 1st down on the Bulldogs 16 yard line. The excitement was short lived as Zach West was called for a facemask penalty during a DyShawn Mobely run and backed the ball up to the 31 yard line. The Wildcats had to settle for a Craig McIntosh 43 yard field goal to make the score 34-3 Kentucky with 7:35 left in the 3rd quarter.
Samford started their next drive, after a nice kickoff return, on their own 46 yard line. After a couple of 1st downs, Kentucky’s Avery Williamson had a huge sack and Miles Simpson had a tackle to end the drive for the Bulldogs.
Patrick Towles came in with 3:36 on the clock and promptly threw an interception and it was returned 17 yards to the Kentucky 26 yard line.
Samford couldn’t gain any momentum after the turnover, turning the ball over on downs.
Jalen Whitlow came back into the game at quarterback and running back Raymond Sanders took over the game at that point. Sanders had rushes of 14 and 31 yards to lead the offense to the Samford 31 yard line and the end of the 3rd quarter with Kentucky leading 34-3.
Kentucky was happy to keep it on the ground beginning the fourth quarter, running the ball down to the 11 yard line, but couldn’t get it in the endzone as they turned it over on downs with 11:28 left in the game.
The game was pretty much uneventful the rest of the way as the final score was Kentucky 34 Samford 3.
The Kentucky rushing attack was led by Raymond Sanders with 15 rushed for 123 yards and a touchdown. Jonathan George had 17 rushes for 76 yards.
Jalen Whitlow finished 10-13 for 66 yards and touchdown, but was more impressive with his legs as he rushed 7 times for 59 yards and one score. Patrick Towles also saw time at quarterback, completing 4 of 6 attempts for 47 yards with one interception.
Gene McCaskill caught Whitlow’s touchdown throw finishing with 35 yards receiving. Aaron Boyd finished with 2 catches and 33 yards.
The Kentucky defense was led by Avery Williamson’s 13 tackles, 2 sacks, and 2 tackles for loss.
Bud Dupree had 2 sacks and Donte Rumph had one.
The Kentucky Wildcats are now 2-9 and will travel to Tennessee to play the Volunteers next Saturday at 12:21pm in Neyland Stadium.