Kentucky football: Wildcat defense freezes Penguins in long overdue shutout

Kavosiey Smoke of the Kentucky Wildcats (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Kavosiey Smoke of the Kentucky Wildcats (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
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Kentucky football
Kentucky Wildcats quarterback Will Levis (Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports) /

Levis can be erratic, efficient, and electrifying all at the same time as the leader

No one will ever question Kentucky football quarterback Will Levis’ desire to win at all costs, and sometimes that drive and determination can lead him to be a bit erratic. But what drives him, costs him at times also fuels that determination even more.

The Kentucky offense was slow to get going and couldn’t crack the scoreboard in the first quarter, but it found its gear and rang up 21 points in the second quarter as Levis and his receivers went to work.

Try as it might the Wildcats failed to score on its first three offensive drives with one ending with  Levis throwing an interception just shy of the end zone and a sack on third down in the red zone.

Kentucky did get on the board when Levis hit Dane Key for a three-yard touchdown, and Levis having seen his offense bog down and his bad pass picked off, carried it in himself for a 1-yard Levis touchdown run on the third play of the second quarter for a 14-0 lead. A well-executed two-minute drive just before halftime gave Kentucky a 21-0 lead on a pass to Chris Lewis.

Levis also threw another interception driving at the Youngstown State 23-yard line, but his defense bailed the Cats out again.

Levis was asked about the play of the offense.

"“We know where we can get better and we’re showing flashes again. This just was not good enough, especially how the defense played. They’re getting the ball back for us repeatedly and we are just not finishing drives. Again, just the good things we did, we should have been doing a lot more. Mostly disappointed just because of the guys that got in there for that last drive. I mean, you don’t want to think or assume guys should be able to get it every game, but we need to work harder to make sure we get the ball when opportunities arise like that.”"

On the day Levis completed 27 of 35 passes for 377 yards, tossed a pair of touchdowns, to go with two interceptions, but was sacked four times. He did have an electrifying run-for-your-life play where he hurdled Penguin defenders near the goalline and nearly scored another touchdown.

While Levis was clearly agitated with himself at times he finished the day with the best completion percentage (71 percent) by a Kentucky football quarterback in a single game since Dusty Bonner against UConn on September 11th, 1999  34-40 for 85 percent.