After getting outscored 79-7 over the last six quarters, Kentucky desperately needed something to get excited about.
Enter Stephen Johnson.
Johnson, a junior transfer from College of the Desert, came on for an injured Drew Barker after Barker threw a pick on the third play of the game, and went 17-for-22 for 310 yards and three touchdowns, while also running 10 times for 51 yards, as Kentucky rolled its way to 680 yards. And yeah, it’s New Mexico State, but for a team that could get nothing going offensively against Florida and in the second half against Southern Miss... This was something.
What’s more, the Wildcats got a big day from true freshman running back Benny Snell, who ran for 136 yards and four touchdowns on 17 carries on the day. Boom Williams also ran all over the New Mexico State defense, rushing for 181 yards on 18 carries.
On the other hand, a New Mexico State offense that had scored 54 points, total, in two games against UTEP and New Mexico, scored 42 on 500 yards of total offense today. Kentucky may have figured out some of its offensive issues, but the defense is still a work in progress.
Here’s what we learned:
- Stephen Johnson should be Kentucky’s starting QB: Yeah, it was New Mexico State... but this offense looks miles better with Johnson running the show compared to Drew Barker. Barker’s status is unknown (he was carted off the field in the first quarter) but it may not matter. But the fact that Kentucky’s coaching staff seems to have completely blown this decision to start the season is not good.
- This defense is not going to stop anyone. It was one thing to be giving up forty-plus points to Southern Miss and Florida, and quite another to do it against New Mexico State. There were way too many blown coverage assignments resulting in big passing plays.
- This defense has to face Lamar Jackson later in the season. That’s not something we learned today, but it’s certainly something relevant. Think of the children!