3 takeaways from Kentucky’s season-opening win over Ball State
The Kentucky WIldcats took care of business on Saturday, knocking off Ball State, 44-14.
The Wildcats entered the matchup with plenty of questions to be answered as 26 points favorites against the Cardinals.
While Kentucky held a comfortable 23-7 lead at halftime, it was clear Devin Leary and Liam Coen are still learning together and haven’t perfected the revamped offense yet. The defense caused 2 fumbles in the first half and accounted for one touchdown. Leary was shaky and inconsistent in the first 30 minutes and wasn’t able to find the end zone while throwing one interception in the new offensive system.
Ray Davis is as advertised
There were high hopes for Vanderbilt transfer running back Ray Davis, who racked up 1,042 yards in 2022. While the offense was struggling to find momentum in the first half and Leary was clearly inconsistent in Coen’s new offense, Davis gave the unit life. He averaged 6.1 yards on the ground for the Wildcats at halftime and was responsible for the only offensive touchdown in the first half.
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The shifty running back rattled off another 30-yard touchdown in the final seconds of the game and finished the day with 14 carries for 112 yards and two scores.
Dane Key has a clear rapport with Devin Leary
There’s no doubt that 6-foot-3 wide receiver Dane Key was Leary’s favorite target on Saturday and it was clear the 2 offensive players had developed a clear rapport in the offseason.
Leary had his best drive of the game in the first series after halftime, moving the team with a balanced attack. He capped it off with a 5-yard touchdown pass to Key, who finished the day with 5 catches for 96 yards and a score.
The defense caused concern
While the defense forced 2 turnovers in the first half and turned one into a score as the offense struggled early, Kentucky may have allowed just 14 points on the day, but the unit struggled to get off the field in the second half.
“There’s so much to work on, I don’t think I’ve ever won a game by that score and been so upset by our play,” Mark Stoops said on SEC Network. “We were so indisciplined at times, we have a lot to clean up.”