No. 17 Kentucky ended a two-game losing skid by defeating visiting Middle Tennessee 34-23 Saturday at Kroger Field in Lexington.
UK improves to 8-3 and already completed SEC play at 5-3. Middle Tennessee falls to 7-4, but at 6-1 leads the Conference USA East Division.
On Senior Day, it was Mike Edwards who wasted no time getting UK off to a fast start. The senior safety intercepted a pass on MTSU’s first possession and returned it 66 yards for a touchdown. UK was up 7-0 with 13:33 left in the first quarter.
On the Blue Raiders’ next possession, Edwards forced a fumble that was recovered by Davonte Robinson. It led to an eight-play, 55-yard scoring drive capped by a 7-yard touchdown run by Benny Snell for a 14-0 lead.
Kentucky pushed the lead to 17-0 in the first quarter on a 38-yard field goal by Miles Butler.
After Middle Tennessee scored on a 6-yard pass from Brent Stockstill to Chaton Mobley, UK senior tight end CJ Conrad countered with an 11-yard touchdown reception from Terry Wilson to make it 24-7 with 8:40 before halftime.
Crews Holt kicked a 33-yard field goal with 1:04 left to make it 24-10 at intermission.
MTSU actually outscored Kentucky in the second half 13-10, but Butler’s 32-yard field goal with 4:01 left to play pushed UK to a 34-23 lead that stood until the end.
Kentucky’s other standout senior, Josh Allen, set the Kentucky career record with 27.5 sacks. On Saturday, he had 15 tackles, two sacks and two tackles for loss.
Kentucky had been doomed of late by its offense. The Wildcats went five straight games without reaching 20 points until Saturday.
Snell rushed 26 times for 116 yards and two touchdowns. Wilson completed 10 of 14 passes for 121 yards and one touchdown.
Stockstill was 30-of-33 for 293 yards and three touchdowns. He now has 24 touchdowns and six interceptions on the season. Ty Lee and Tavares Thomas each had seven catches.
Saturday’s game marked the first appearance of the year for Kentucky defensive lineman Josh Paschal. He was sidelined in August when diagnosed with melanoma on the bottom of his foot. He had one tackle.
Kentucky ends the regular season at rival Louisville next Saturday. With a victory, the nine wins would be the most since 1984.
—Field Level Media