Smith takes over at QB as Cats face Miami in home opener

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky coaches say they have seen a different Maxwell Smith in practice since naming him as the starting quarterback for Saturday's home opener against Miami (Ohio).

The sophomore has taken control, composure that led coach Mark Stoops and offensive coordinator Neal Brown to make the switch from Jalen Whitlow to try and build momentum before the toughest stretch of the Wildcats' schedule.

After facing the RedHawks (0-1), Kentucky's next four opponents are No. 8 Louisville, No. 12 Florida, No. 1 Alabama and No. 6 South Carolina.

Smith performed well after entering in the third quarter of Saturday's 35-26 loss to Western Kentucky, leading the Wildcats (0-1) on two scoring drives. Brown said he wanted to make it easier on his offense to feel that comfort from the opening kickoff.

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