On the day Kentucky honored football coach Mark Stoops for becoming the program’s highest-earning football coach, it was fitting that the Wildcats defense pulled off the school’s first shutout since 2009 with a win. of 31-0 over Youngstown State. The 2009 shutout was over Miami (Ohio) 42-0.
Seven Kentucky coaches and players hail from the northern Ohio town known for its blue-collar work ethic and the defensive-minded Stoops enjoyed watching his defense stifle the Penguins’ offense from possession. ‘opening. Youngstown was limited to 54 total rushing yards in the first half as No. 9 Kentucky (3-0) opened up a 21-0 lead at intermission. The Penguins finished with 192 total rushing yards as the youngsters saved the shutout.
“We’ve been trying for five years to put a donut on the board,” Kentucky defensive coordinator Brad White said. And referring to veteran players on the sidelines, especially linebackers DeAndre Square and Jacquez Jones. “They were so excited and into the last ride and proud of these guys for finishing it.”
Cornerback Carrington Valentine was key in keeping Youngstown (2-1) off the scoreboard. He interrupted an intended pass to former Wildcat Bryce Oliver in the end zone to block a Penguin drive. Later, after being flagged for pass interference, he intercepted a pass in the end zone with an acrobatic hold.
“I just get lost in the game. It’s always a defensive goal to have a shutout,” he said. “I was going to get the ball out (on the interception) but saw a lineman so I played it safe.”
Kentucky continued to rely heavily on quarterback Will Levis offensively as the ground game struggled to find its footing while senior running back Chris Rodriguez serves Game 3 of a four-game suspension . The Wildcats rushed for just 103 yards, but Levis was 27-for-35 for 377 passing yards and two touchdowns and rushed for another. He connected with 10 different receivers, with passing passes 3 yards to Dane Key and 2 yards to Chris Lewis.
The Wildcats offense was slow to get out of the gate, punting its first two punts and Levis was knocked out at Youngstown 3. Levis finally put the Wildcats on the board on a 1 goalie with 13:34 left. play in the first half. . Kavosiey Smoke led Kentucky in rushing with 66 yards and a 7-yard touchdown. But Kentucky was slowed by a few false start penalties, four fumbles despite losing just one and 10 tackles for loss, including four sacks.
“I have to watch the movie, the first choice maybe the broad didn’t keep coming. The second I thought the read was good, but he didn’t step up the pitch and we talked about it,” said Rich Scangerello, offensive coordinator. “I was disappointed with the way we came out today. We talked about taking it the right way and being detailed and I didn’t think that was good enough tonight and if we don’t we don’t improve, we will have problems later.
“Penalties before the snap are completely unacceptable and turnovers are a disrespect for the ball. It will be taken care of as long as I am the coach here. Either you take care of the ball or you don’t play. We only lost one (fumble), but had four on the ground. If (you) line up and jump offside, you will not play.
Kentucky will have a chance to correct those offensive hiccups next Saturday night against MAC foe Northern Illinois at 7 in Lexington.