Despite injuries to both its starting and backup quarterbacks over the course of the season, Kentucky became bowl eligible Saturday with a 50-7 victory over UT Martin in Lexington, Ky.
Starter Terry Wilson went down in Week 2 with a torn patellar tendon and backup Sawyer Smith was out more than a month with wrist and shoulder issues. That forced the Wildcats (6-5) to turn to wide receiver Lynn Bowden, a quarterback in high school.
On Saturday, Bowden improved to 4-2 as a starter, a stretch that includes a pair of SEC Offensive Player of the Week awards.
He rushed for 129 yards and two touchdowns. For the season, Bowden has rushed for 951 yards and seven touchdowns. Before changing positions, the former wideout had 30 catches for 348 yards and one touchdown.
UT Martin ends its regular season at 7-5, including a 6-2 record in the Ohio Valley Conference.
On this day, it was Kentucky’s defense that set the tone. On the first play of the game, a high snap led to a safety against Skyhawks quarterback John Bachus when he was called for intentional grounding on a pass out of his own end zone.
Two minutes later, UK’s defense pushed the lead to 9-0 when another bad snap in the wind and light rain resulted in a fumble recovery in the end zone by Kentucky’s Yusuf Corker. At halftime, the Wildcats had held UT Martin to 10 yards of total offense on 29 plays.
The offense then took over with a 63-yard touchdown run by AJ Rose and two touchdown runs by Bowden, one for 2 yards and another from 9 yards out on fourth-and-1.
In the second half, running backs Chris Rodriguez, Travis Tisdale and Tyler Markray scored touchdowns on runs of 2, 1 and 45 yards, respectively.
The Wildcats finished with 479 yards of offense compared to 204 for the Skyhawks.
—Field Level Media