Kentucky football freshman shine, Stoops makes history in win over Miami

Kentucky Wildcats wide receiver Barion Brown (Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports)
Kentucky Wildcats wide receiver Barion Brown (Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports) /
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13. 2243. 37. 833. Final

Kentucky football opened the season with high expectations and while they were tempered a bit with a porous Big Blue Wall, the freshman stepped up allowing coach Mark Stoops to make history tying Paul “Bear” Bryant as the winningest UK coach with a 37-13 win over Miami of Ohio.

Ironically it was 10 years ago in game two of the Stoops era where he began the wins by defeating the same RedHawks school. Now he is 60-53 and while he will gladly take the accomplishment his focus squarely will be on his team has a tall task ahead of them next week at Florida.

Stoops was asked about that in the post-game media conference and stuck to his same answer.

"“I want to make it very clear. I absolutely respect that and am very appreciative to be here a long time and have the opportunity to win this many games. And I don’t think it’s right to — you know, I don’t — I mean, Bear Bryant coached here and, you know, I don’t know what to say. I don’t want to be disrespectful, but it’s, like, you don’t want — you can’t put my name in the same as Bear Bryant’s. You know what I mean?”"

The Gators looked much the better team knocking off No. 7 Utah 29-26.

Playing its first home opener under the lights since 2016, just as ominous as the storms off on the horizon the Wildcats watched as Miami go 75 yards taking almost six minutes and punching the ball in for a touchdown.

Cause for concern – somewhat.

Outcome – the Kentucky defense tightened things up and only allowed a pair of field goals the rest of the way.

Over on the offensive side when the Cats got their first possession it became very evident the Big Blue Wall has a lot of holes and cohesiveness to fill as quarterback Will Levis found RedHawks in his face much of the night.

This caused the UK running game, already with the issue of a suspended Chris Rodriguez missing the game, to struggle mightily as well.

Kentucky football takeaway #1 Levis has a boatload of receivers

Still, Levis completed 21 of 32 passes for 303 yards, 3 touchdowns, and tossed one interception. He found some receivers finally in Tavion Robinson and freshman Barion Brown and Dane Key.

However, stepping up were freshmen on both sides of the ball that came through and made names for themselves as we knew they were capable of but couldn’t wait to see

Brown, the Virginia Tech transfer, returned an electrifying kickoff 100-yards to open the second half and jumpstarted the Cats who only led 13-10.

Hometown stud Key will be a name we hear a lot of with him pulling in four catches for 53 yards and his first UK touchdown.

Sophomore Chauncy Magwood also got his first career touchdown on his only catch of 8-yards, while tightened Brenden Bates also pulled in one of Levis’ passes that happened to be for a 6-yard touchdown.

In all nine different UK receivers had catches led by Tavion Robinson’s six for 136 yards with a long of 45 and 103 yards after the catch.