Kentucky football torches New Mexico enabling seniors to make memories

Will Levis of the Kentucky Wildcats (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Will Levis of the Kentucky Wildcats (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
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Kentucky’s Jacquez Jones
Kentucky’s Jacquez Jones /

The Wildcat defense shines getting two takeaways including a pick-six

The much-maligned defense actually had a good day. Its efficiency at times gets a bit off-kilter and they will need to make that a priority for 60 minutes against Louisville.

New Mexico was not able to pick up a first down in the first quarter despite having the ball four times. In the second quarter, they forced NMS to kick three field goals with two coming from 50 yards from Ethan Albertson along with a punt possession.

In the second half, New Mexico had the ball seven times, had to punt six of those possessions, and fumbled it away on the other. It is the first game since last year against Tennessee that the defense has kept an opponent from scoring in the second half.

In all, they forced the Aggies into six three-and-outs and fought off a pair of four-down chances.

Much of the Aggie offense kept moving at times from Kentucky penalties that accounted for 69 yards.

But the best stat was forcing a fumble and recovering it and a pick-six interception from Quandre Mosely that went for a 38-yard touchdown. It was the first touchdown of his career and his second interception as a Wildcat. The last was in 2019 against Mississippi State.

He was asked after the game what it’s like to get a big play in his final home game.

"“Felt good, I was praying for this, that I want to make a play in my last game in Kroger Field. I haven’t made many plays since I’ve been here. It was a relief…. Yeah, when he looked my way, I knew it was coming. I thought he was going to throw it to number two but I saw him keep coming, so, oh yeah, this is it. I just got happy and I was like I’ve just got to finish the play and catch it and make sure I got it first.”"

Others helping their senior cause were linebacker Jacquez Jones who paced UK with eight tackles and he also forced a fumble. Defensive end Josh Paschal corraled six Aggies.  He had 1.5 tackles for loss, including a quarterback sack. The Prince George’s Island, Maryland native now has 36 tackles for loss in his career, putting him in sixth place. And how about linebacker Will Nalty getting the first fumble recovery of his UK career.

Kentucky has forced only 8 takeaways this season but has scored 4 defensive touchdowns including one touchdown in back-to-back weeks with Jalen Geiger taking one back last week against Vanderbilt.