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Kentucky Football

Kentucky Romps to Bowl Eligibility with a 50-7 Win Over Tennessee-Martin

November 23, 2019

The Cats led from the word go tonight, as the first play from scrimmage resulted in a safety after a bad snap and subsequent intentional grounding in the end zone by Tennessee-Martin. By the time the game hit the five-minute mark, Kentucky held a 16-0 lead thanks to a fumble recovery in the end zone and one-play touchdown drive on the legs of AJ Rose. The Cats never relinquished, racking up 462 rush yards on the night, setting a new school record. The defense, backed Tennessee-Martin into -12 net rushing yards, although the Skyhawk offense did put together 216 yards through the air. The Kentucky offense added just 17 passing yards of their own, sticking to their signature all season. 

Lynn Bowden once again crossed the 100-yard mark on the gorund, going for 135 while AJ Rose added 105 of his own. Travis Tisdale contributed 60 yards to the effort. Bowden hit 100 yards early in the second half and immediately went to the sideline to give Sawyer Smith and Walker Wood time at quarterback. Amani GIlmore even got in the game, kneeling out the last drive to bring the clock to 0:00. 

Jamin Davis led the team in tackles for the second consecutive week, registering six. Jordan Wright, Boogie Waton, and TJ Carter added a sack apiece with Calvin Taylor and Josh Paschal registering 1.5 sacks each. Davis also added an interception. Kordell Looney, Josh Paschal, and Boogie Watson each had a forced fumble, with Jordan Griffin and Yusuf Corker each recovering a fumble. Corker’s was a recovery in the end zone for a touchdown. 


First Quarter

Kentucky kicked off to start, with Tennessee-Martin starting at their own 20 yard line. A botched snap on 1st down rolled all the way back into the endzone, where Tennessee-Martin QB John Bachus III recovered and threw out of bounds. He was flagged for intentional grounding from the end zone, resulting in a safety. Kentucky took an early 2-0 lead.

Kentucky’s first time on the field didn’t result in much, as Rose gained two yards in 1st down before Bowden took to the air. On 3rd and 8 he threw deep to a wide open Josh Ali, but slightly overthrew him. The Cats punted on 4th down.

Tennessee-Martin got the offense moving for a few plays on their ensuing drive, with a pass completion for seven yards on 1st down and then converting on 2nd and 3 thanks to a six yard run. However, another bad snap on the following 1st down once again ended up in the endzone, where Yusuf Corker recovered, giving the Kentucky defense the touchdown. The Cats took a 9-0 lead.

The Cats kicked off to Tennessee-Martin, who was called for a false start on 1st down. On 1st and 15 the Skyhawks picked up four yards. On 2nd down TJ Carter got to Bachus for a sack and loss of four yards. A nine yard gain on 3rd down was not enough for the conversion, and Tennessee-Martin punted to the Cats on 4th and 6. 

Starting from their own 37 yard line, AJ Rose took the carry on 1st down. He broke through on the right side, taking off with the Skyhawks in pursuit for a 63 yard touchdown, giving the Cats a 16-0 lead.

The Skyhawks got the ball back after Kentucky’s kickoff, but short completions of one and five yards brought up an early third down. The Kentucky defense imposed their will with another sack of Bachus, this one to Jordan Wright. Tennessee-Martin punted, giving Kentucky possession at their own 42 yard line.

Kentucky’s offense continued to struggle to get going. A rush each for Chris Rodriguez and Kavosiey Smoke totaled a loss of one yard, and Bowden’s long pass to Clevan Thomas on 3rd down was slightly too long and the Cats punted on 4th and 11. The Skyhawks fielded the punt on their own three yard line Terry Williams caused several missed tackles as he returned the ball 42 yards. Max Duffy came in for the save on the UTM 45 yard line, sending Williams hard into the turf.

Bachus opened with an 11 yard completion, but three straight plays to RB Jaimiee Bowe, two rushes and one pass, weren’t enough to keep the Sykhawk drive alive. They punted on 4th and 6. 

Kentucky spent their next drive leaning on Kavosiey Smoke, who ran five consecutive plays for a total of 17 yards. On 3rd and 8 Bowden threw deep to Josh Ali, but couldn’t connect . Max Duffy punted 66 yards to flip the field.

Tennessee-Martin gained six yards on 1st down but had no luck after that, going three-and-out and punting from their own 11. Josh Ali fumbled the punt and it was recovered by the Skyhawks at the 50 yard line.

The defense immediately came to the rescue of the Cats, sacking Bachus for a loss of seven on 1st down and then again on 3rd down. Offsetting penalties on the punt gave the Skyhawks a second chance at the punt, which was downed at Kentucky’s 27 yard line early in the second quarter.


Second Quarter

Lynn Bowden kept the ball on 1st down for his first rush of the game, gaining six yards. He followed it up with a seven yard run to reset the chains. Rodriguez took the next carry three yards before Bowden kept it again for five. On third down Bowden threw deep into coverage, and Tennessee-Martin’s Takeem Young intercepted the pass. The Skyhawks started on their own 17 yard line.

The Cats defense didn’t let up, once again forcing a three-and-out for the Skyhawks. Tennessee-Martin gained nine yards on the drive before punting 49 yards to give the Cats the ball on their own 25 yard line.

The Kentucky offense went back to what has worked this season, keeping the ball with Lynn Bowden. After a 1st down run by AJ Rose, Bowden ran it himself twice before going to the air three straight plays. An 11 yard completion to Justin Rigg was called back for holding, and Bowden then hit Ahmad Wagner for nine yards to bring up 3rd and 12 from the 17. The pass to Rigg was incomplete, but Tennessee-Martin was called for pass interference, giving the Cats the ball on the two yard line. On the very next play Bowden ran it off the right tackle and went into the endzone, giving Kentucky the touchdown. Chance Poore missed the extra point into a stuff wind, and the Cats extended their lead to 22-0. 

With both the offense and defense now in a groove, the Kentucky defense imposed their will on the Skyhawk offense. Jordan Griffin made the tackle on 1st down for a loss of one yard, and after they allowed a 19 yard completion on 2nd down, the Cats forced a fumble on the ensuing play. Kordell Looney was credited with the forced fumble while Jordan Griffin came in for the recovery on the UK 47 yard line. 

On 1st down AJ Rose took off for 35 yards, setting the Cats up at the Tennessee-Martin 18 yard line. One run each by Rose, Bowden, and Smoke totaled nine yards, giving the Cats a 4th and 1 from the UTM nine yard line. Not only did Bowden pick up the 1st down on his rush, he went all the way to the endzone for the score. Kentucky extended their lead to 29-0 after a good extra point from Matt Ruffolo.

Tennessee-Martin got the ball back with 1:41 left and ran twice before a 3rd down sack by Calvin Taylor ran out the clock to end the first half.


Third Quarter

Tennessee-Martin went for the onside kick to open the second half and recovered, sending their offense out to start on their own 45 yard line. The combination of Jaimiee Bowe on the ground and Bachus in the air helped move the Skyhawks down the field methodically. A 3rd and 7 completion for 19 yards set them up at the Kentucky five, where the Cats defense tightened up. Bachus’s 3rd down pass to the endzone was itnercepted by Jamin Davis, giving the Cats the ball on the 20 yard line.

The beginning of the drive was all Bowden, as he rushed for one and five yards before finding another hole and going 40 yards to the Tennessee-Martin 34 yard line. At that point he came out of the game, giving Sawyer Smith the chance to get some snaps. After a two yard run by Rose, Smith went to the air on three staright plays, not managing to connect on any. The Cats turned the ball over on downs at the UTM 32 yard line.

The Kentucky defense gave up 12 total yards on a Skyhawk drive that included five pass attempts on five of six plays. The Skyhawks punted on 4th down, giving the Cats the ball back deep in their own territory on the 11 yard line. 

The Cats stuck with the ground game, alternating between Chris Rodriguez and Kavosiey Smoke on the next drive. The clock-eating methodical drive took the Cats down to the Tennessee-Martin 48 yard line on six plays from the Smoke/Rodriguez combination. On the next play Chris Rodriguez went 26 yards to bring the Cats to the 22, where Sawyer Smith kept the ball himself on two staright plays. He totaled 20 yards, thanks to a 15 yard run to the left side down to the two yard line. Chris Rodriguez punched it in, dragging Tennessee-Martin defenders with him. The Cats extended their lead to 36-0.

Tennessee-Martin started from their own 26, gaining two yards on a 1st down throw to end the third quarter.


Fourth Quarter

The Skyhawks put together their own extended drive to open the fourth quarter, led by the arm of Bachus. They capped off a twelve play drive with a six yard touchdown run by Jaimiee Bowe. The sustained drive gave some Cats backups good experience on the field, with Cavon Butler and KD McDaniel among the defenders registering tackles.

Kavosiey Smoke returned the Skyhawk kickoff, bringing it out to the Kentucky 40 yard line before beging brought down. Walker Wood came in at quarterback for the Cats with redshirt freshman Travis Tisdale at running back. On Tisdale’s second carry he found a hole and took off for 53 yards up the middle, but was pushed out of bounds at the UTM five yard line while trying to keep his feet. After another short run and an incomplete pass from Wood to Brenden Bates, the Cats went backt o Tisdale, who punched it in for the first touchdown of his Kentucky career. The Cats extended their lead to 43-7.

Dresser Winn came in at quarterback for the Skyhawks, and after one 11 yard completion to move the chains, the Tennessee-Martin offense once again succumbed to a dominant Kentucky defense. The Skyhawks punted to the Kentucky 30 yard line.

With Travis Tisdale already with a score on the board, the UK offense went to walk-on Tyler Markray at running back. Markray took the first carry, going seven yards. Wood ran for 10 on the next play, resetting the chains for the Cats. On the ensuing 1st down he hit Nik Ognenovic for an eight yard gain and setting up 2nd and 2 from the UTM 45 yard line. Markray took the carry on 2nd down, breaking loose and going to the endzone for a 45 yard touchdown. The score, which put the Cats up 50-7, gave every running back on Kentucky’s roster minus Kavosiey Smoke a touchdown on the game. 

Tennessee-Martin went exclusively to the air after starting on their own 15 yard line. Dresser Winn threw 4 straight times, rushed twice, and threw twice more on a drive that lasted eight plays and 43 yards. The last pass attempt was on 4th and 9 and fell incomplete, turning the ball over on downs and allowing Kentucky to kneel out the clock.


The Cats stay in Kroger Field next week to host a 7-4 Louisville team during Rivalry Week. Kickoff is slated for noon, when the Cats will try to get their seventh win of the season and improve their bowl placement.

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Kentucky Romps to Bowl Eligibility with a 50-7 Win Over Tennessee-Martin

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