Sat. August 31st was a day of firsts. After nearly nine months of anticipation, the Kentucky faithful were rewarded with the beginning of the team’s 129th football season in a great way. The Wildcats enjoyed a 38-24 win over the Toledo Rockets, punctuated by a 31-3 run beginning late second quarter and lasting until the final minute of the game.
Despite the win, the team was not overly happy with their performance. “You know, there is an awful lot to improve on, that’s for sure,” said Head Coach Mark Stoops.
In the first game of the season, Josh Pascal, a redshirt sophomore DL, played his first game cancer-free. The lineman gave Kroger Field a show with four tackles, a sack, and forced fumble.
In the name of firsts, Paschal forced the fumble on Bryant Koback, a former Wildcat who played his first game back in Lexington in the season opener. Addressing his return to Kroger Field, Koback said, “I really didn’t pay too much attention to that, or at least tried not to.”
Koback redshirted his first year at UK while rehabbing a knee injury before transferring to Toledo to be closer to his family. The HB rushed for 73 yards in Saturday’s game.
Koback’s rushing, however, was outshined by redshirt freshman, Kavosiey Smoke. Smoke rushed for a total of 78 yards in only his third game for the Wildcats. Smoke’s most notable play was a 40-yrd carry for a Kentucky touchdown in the fourth quarter. “I just felt like it was my time to shine,” the RB said, “I saw green grass and the end zone, and nobody was stopping me from getting to the end zone.”
The returning tandem of Lynn Bowden and A.J. Rose also starred for the Kentucky offense. Bowden recorded 77 yards as a receiver. Rose’s moment came early in the second quarter when he stiff-armed Toledo safety, Dedarallo Blue for a 21-yard rush before being forced out of bounds at the Toledo 11-yard line. Rose had 64 rushing yards and 26 yards as a receiver.