Kentucky's offense explodes in 62-42 win over New Mexico State

09/17/2016 08:40 PM

To call today a defensive struggle for both Kentucky and New Mexico State would be an understatement.

Kentucky, who entered the game allowing 44.5 points and 542 yards through the first two games, allowed the New Mexico State Aggies to score 42 points and have 500 yards of total offense.

But that wasn’t enough for the Aggies to pull off the upset.

The Kentucky offense finally found their groove, with a different leader behind center. Drew Barker threw an interception on the first possession and never returned to the game due to a back injury. That meant it was time to call on backup quarterback Stephen Johnson to try and find some sort of rhythm for the Wildcat offense.

Johnson’s presence as a dual-threat quarterback was felt immediately. He finished the first half with 194 passing yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 23 yards, opening up the field for Boom Williams and Benny Snell to make plays. Williams had one touchdown and Snell had two at halftime.

Kentucky went into the first half tied with New Mexico State 35-35. The defense had given up 345 yards of total offense.

But things started to change for the UK defense in the second half. Courtney Love and his group started off the third quarter by forcing a New Mexico State three-and-out. They would only allow the Aggies to score one touchdown the rest of the game.

Meanwhile, Kentucky’s offense continued to roll. Tight End C.J. Conrad caught his third touchdown of the night in the third quarter. He finished the game with five catches for 133 yards and three touchdowns. Benny Snell scored two more times in the second half, as he finished his breakout game with 137 yards and four touchdowns. The scoring festivities ended with a 65-yard punt return by junior wide receiver Charles Walker.

Kentucky’s offense used a balanced attack to wear down New Mexico State. They were able to sustain drives, as they won the possession battle by having the ball for over 34 minutes of the game. The Cats had 692 yards of total offense, 381 yards on the ground and 311 yards through the air.

While they still have a lot of issues to fix on both sides of the ball, picking up their first win of the season was a huge confidence boost for Mark Stoops and his team. UK faces off against South Carolina at home next Saturday at 7:30.

Clayton Abernathy

Clayton Abernathy is the producer for KSTV. A recent graduate from the University of Kentucky with a degree in journalism, Clayton covered UK sports throughout his four year college career for various radio and television stations, including an internship with KSTV last summer. He is passionate about UK sports, and loves to apply that passion to his work every day. He loves to eat, run, explore nature, jam with his buddies, and play basketball and golf on the weekends. You can follow Clayton on Twitter @Abernathy_cn2.

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