LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Derrick Locke ran for a career-high 166
yards and two touchdowns to lead Kentucky past Akron 47-10 on
Mike Hartline passed for 250 yards and two scores for the
Wildcats (3-0), who won their 18th straight regular season
nonconference game. Kentucky opens Southeastern Conference play
next week at No. 10 Florida.
The Wildcats took their time getting going against the Zips
(0-3) before scoring touchdowns on six straight possessions to
break it open.
Kentucky star Randall Cobb caught five passes for 43 yards and a
touchdown but spent the second half on the sidelines with heartburn
Locke made sure the Wildcats didn't need Cobb, darting through
Akron's overmatched defense to become the seventh running back in
school history to top 2,000 career yards.
The Wildcats outgained Akron 544-172 and collected five sacks
while failing to turn the ball over for the third straight game.
Joker Phillips became the first Kentucky coach to win his first
three games on the job since Bear Bryant in 1946. Phillips took a
page out of the irascible Bryant's book in the first half after a
false start penalty pushed the team to the edge of field goal
Phillips gathered the players in a massive huddle and spent a
good 45 seconds clearing his mind.
It took awhile, but the pep talk worked.
Kentucky ripped off 17 points in the final 7:49 of the half as
in part to a nifty move by Cobb at the Akron 5 - then found Chris
Matthews in the corner of the end zone on Kentucky's next drive to
put the Wildcats up 20-3 at the break.
Locke did the rest. He opened the second half with a 5-yard
scoring run, then zipped through the Zips on a 56-yard touchdown
burst, eluding a handful of arm tackles along the way. Locke's
rushing total was the highest by a Kentucky back since Rafael
Little rushed for 198 yards against Vanderbilt in 2005.
Locke's backups were nearly as good, as Ray Sanders and CoShik
Williams added late touchdown runs of their own. The SEC's highest
scoring offense had little resistance from the Zips, who were
coming off an embarrassing loss to Football Championship
Subdivision opponent Gardner-Webb last week.
Kentucky's defense limited Akron quarterbacks Patrick Nicely and
Matt Rodgers to 6-of-24 passing for 105 yards, the majority of
which came on a late scoring drive in garbage time.
Phillips had stressed his team needed to learn to play a
complete game if it wants to compete in the SEC. The Wildcats still
have a bit of growing up to do.
Akron hung around early thanks to the kind of lethargic play
Kentucky had been able to avoid during wins over Louisville and
Penalties and an uncharacteristic case of the drops kept the
SEC's highest scoring offense in check for most of the first half.
Even the sure-handed Cobb allowed a couple of passes to bounce off
No matter. The Wildcats, thanks to some energetic urging by
their coach, improved to 3-0 for the second time in three seasons.
The road will get significantly tougher next week. Kentucky
hasn't beaten the Gators in 23 tries.