Kentucky throttles Louisiana-Monroe 48-14
GARY B. GRAVES
Oct. 11, 2014
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Patrick Towles threw three touchdown passes and Kentucky returned two interceptions for TDs as the Wildcats overcame a 14-3 deficit with 45 unanswered points for a 48-14 victory over Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday.
Sluggish on both sides of the ball through the first 22 minutes, the Wildcats (5-1) awoke to surge ahead on Towles' 83-yard TD pass to Javess Blue and Josh Forrest's 29-yard interception return 1:05 apart in the second quarter. Towles hit Blake Bone with a 4-yard TD pass before halftime and Kentucky poured it on en route to its first three-game winning streak since 2010.
Marcus McWilson returned a pickoff 36 yards for another TD as Kentucky's defense recorded six sacks. Blue added a 21-yard TD reception and freshman running back Stanley "Boom" Williams returned from a one-game suspension to rush for 104 yards, including a 58-yard TD, as the Wildcats broke 45 points for the second straight week.
Kentucky's outburst followed a lethargic opening that nearly confirmed coaches' worries about a letdown following last week's stunning 45-38 upset of South Carolina.
ULM (3-3) took a 14-3 lead at the end of the first quarter as Pete Thomas hit Ajalen Holley and Kenzee Jackson for TDs of 12 and 9 yards respectively.
Thomas' second TD pass followed Hunter Kissinger's 22-yard interception return of running back Jojo Kemp's wobbly attempt. ULM's first score was helped by a roughing-the-passer penalty on Kentucky linebacker/end TraVaughn Paschal that put the ball on Wildcats' 14.
It was all Kentucky from there, providing the tuneup the Wildcats wanted with next week's Southeastern Conference game at LSU and another challenge against third-ranked Mississippi State.
Kentucky outgained ULM 352-264 but allowed just 71 yards in the second half. The Wildcats also recorded 12 tackles for loss along with returning interceptions for TDs for a second straight week.
Austin MacGinnis kicked field goals of 37 and 30 yards for the Wildcats.
Towles completed 16 of 28 passes for 216 yards with Blue catching three for 109 yards. Dorian Baker had three catches for 38 yards as he returned from the suspension along with Williams; they were disciplined for a campus incident last week involving shots fired from an air pistol.
Thomas was 20 of 31 for 167 yards for ULM, which went just 1 of 12 on third down.
Kissinger's interception extended ULM's nation-leading takeaway streak to 32 games and provided hope of a second upset of a Power 5 conference school. The Warhawks beat Atlantic Coast Conference member Wake Forest in its opener.
But the Warhawks weren't the same after that second-quarter momentum swing and were overwhelmed on both sides of the ball by Kentucky..