LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - John Conner had two of Kentucky's six
rushing TDs - the first two of his career - as the Wildcats'
offense overcame their porous rushing defense to defeat Kent State
56-20 Saturday night.
Conner scored on Kentucky's opening drives of both halves,
including a 16-yard scamper four minutes after halftime that gave
the Wildcats (2-0) the lead for good. Coming into the game, Conner
had only two other carries in his career.
Tony Dixon, Andre Woodson, Alfonso Smith and Derrick Locke each
added TD runs, Locke's from 67 yards out on just his second career
carry. Kentucky racked up 266 rushing yards, but Kent State did
even better on the ground.
Coached by Kentucky alumnus Doug Martin, the Flashes diced the
Wildcats' defense for 215 rushing yards in the first half -
including 124 from Eugene Jarvis and 79 from quarterback Julian
Edelman. The Golden Flashes ran for 324 yards in the game.
Kentucky's Rafael Little didn't reach the end zone but had 13
carries for 102 yards, becoming the first Wildcats player - and
fourth in the Southeastern Conference - with 2,000 career rushing
yards and 1,000 receiving yards.
Kentucky, best known for quarterback Woodson and his skilled
receiving corp, needed the running game to get through this one
because of shaky pass protection and an even shakier defense.
Woodson completed 15 of 22 passes for 218 yards and two TDs, but
he was sacked four times - all in the first half. He didn't seem in
sync until late in the third quarter when he fired a 51-yard TD to
Keenan Burton to give Kentucky a three-touchdown cushion.
Before that, the Golden Flashes (1-1) gave Kentucky a scare with
its option offense - a scheme that also troubled the Wildcats last
year against another Mid-American Conference foe, Central Michigan.
The two teams headed to halftime tied at 14 after time ran out
before Kent State could try a go-ahead field goal, but things could
have been much worse for the Wildcats early.
Kentucky forced Kent State to punt only once in the half, but
turnovers stopped three other drives in their tracks. Among them
was an interception by Calvin Harrison that halted a drive on the
Kentucky 8-yard line.
The Golden Flashes used some trickery to get on the board first
with a 6-yard fake field goal run by holder Leneric Muldrow.
Woodson answered less than two minutes later, finding receiver
Steve Johnson, who dodged three would-be tacklers to score from 33
Despite an often ugly game for Kentucky's run defense, defensive
end Jeremy Jarmon had a standout performance with a sack and two
The Wildcats host intrastate rival Louisville next week in a
battle of two offenses that have combined for 237 points through
their first two games.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)