Since his arrival, head coach Mark Stoops has set out to improve the talent level of the Kentucky Wildcats. His recruiting has gone to levels never before seen in Lexington. On Saturday, the fruits of his labor finally started to pay off.
Kentucky smashed Tennessee-Martin 59-14 at Commonwealth Stadium on Saturday in the season opener for both squads. And many of the players that Stoops and his staff have brought in were on full display.
The Wildcats rolled up 656 yards of total offense in the game, with most of that coming from younger players in the program. Junior transfer Braylon Heard, brought to the Bluegrass by this staff after he transferred from the Nebraska Cornhuskers, carried just twice, but he made the most of his touches. Heard rushed for a pair of long touchdowns, runs of 73 and 43 yards, in his Wildcat debut.
True freshman Mikel Horton also had a big day on the ground. Horton carried seven times for 45 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Sophomore Jojo Kemp, another player brought in by Stoops, carried eight times for 31 yards and a touchdown of his own.
It wasn’t just the running backs making big plays. Three true freshmen receivers got in on the action for Kentucky as well. Blake Bone caught two passes for 65 yards and a score. T.V. Williams had a pair of catches for 45 yards. Dorian Baker had three receptions for 29 yards.
The offense was led by sophomore Patrick Towles, who got his first collegiate start. Towles connected on 20-of-29 through the air for 377 yards and a score, while rushing three times for 30 yards and another touchdown.
Kentucky’s potential on offense, not only this year but in coming years, is scary. The young players will only continue to get better with more experience, which bodes well for the future of the Wildcat program.
Tim Letcher is a contributing writer for RantSports.com and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter @TimLetcher , on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.