The Herald-Leader staff will be well represented at Kroger Field. Follow me on Twitter at @johnclayiv, as well as Jon Hale at @JonHale_HL, Mark Story at @markcstory and Cameron Drummond at @cdrummond97.
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Final: Kentucky 28, Eastern Kentucky 17
Kentucky improves to 2-0 with a 28-17 win over Eastern Kentucky. The Colonels fall to 0-2. EKU led 10-7 midway through the third quarter before Kentucky finally took control. UK quarterback Devin Leary was 23 of 37 for 243 yards passing with four touchdowns and one interception. Wide receiver Tayvion Robinson caught five passes for 80 yards and two scores.
EKU’s Parker McKinney was 19 of 29 passing for 219 yards and a touchdown and an interception.
UK ended up outgaining the Colonels 414 to 311.
Kentucky extends lead back out to 28-17
UK answers EKU’s scoring drive with a 65-yard touchdown drive of its own. Devin Leary hit running back Ray Davis for a 24-yard touchdown with 8:08 remaining in the game. Leary is now 21 of 35 for 217 yards with four touchdowns and one interception.
Eastern Kentucky makes it a one-score game
After Kentucky’s touchdown, Eastern Kentucky drives 75 yards in nine plays to pull within 21-17 with 12:04 left. Key play was a 39-yard pass by McKinney to Joshua Carter to the UK 30. Later, McKinney perfectly executed a wide-open middle screen pass to Braedon Sloane for a 9-yard touchdown.
McKinney is now 18 of 28 for 205 yards with a touchdown and an interception on the game.
EKU has outgained UK 301-291 with 12:04 left.
End of third quarter: Kentucky 21, Eastern Kentucky 10
But the Colonels finish the quarter at the UK 24-yard line.
Tayvion Robinson helps UK extend lead to 21-10
Tayvion Robinson has had a big day. He’s made two touchdown catches. And he has a 56-yard rush that helped set up Devin Leary’s 13-yard TD pass to Barion Brown as UK increases its lead to 21-10 with 1:47 left in the third quarter.
Kentucky takes lead for first time in the game
After Eastern Kentucky moved back in front, UK marched 72 yards in nine plays to take its first lead of the afternoon. The key play was Devin Leary’s 25-yard completion to Tayvion Robinson on a third-and-10 from the Cats’ 40-yard line. The next snap, Barion Brown went 26 yards on a reverse to the EKU 9-yard line. On third-and-goal, Leary hit Robinson for the 6-yard score. Alex Raynor’s extra point made it 14-10 Kentucky with 5:47 left in the third quarter.
Brown has a 36-yard punt return and a 26-yard rushing play. Robinson has caught five passes for 80 yards and two touchdowns. Leary is 17 of 31 for 167 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions.
UK has a 221-213 advantage in total yards.
— Kentucky Football (@UKFootball) September 9, 2023
Eastern takes 10-7 lead early in third quarter
Eastern Kentucky took the second half kickoff and marched 75 yards in 10 plays with Patrick Nations’ 21-yard field goal giving the Colonels a 10-7 lead with 9:46 left in the third quarter. Quarterback Parker McKinney connected with Braedon Sloan on a 20-yard pass play to the UK 41. Two plays later, Sloan gained 28 yards on a run to the home team’s 9-yard line. The drive stalled, but EKU was still able to take the lead.
McKinney is 12 of 18 passing for 131 yards with an interception.
Kentucky ties it up 7-7 right before halftime
Barion Brown returned an EKU punt 36 yards to the Colonels’ 24-yard line with 48 seconds left in the half. First play, Devin Leary threw a beautiful ball to Tayvion Robinson for the 24-yard touchdown with 42 seconds left in half. Alex Raynor’s extra point tied it up a 7-7.
Leary was 14 of 25 for 125 yards with one touchdown and one interception in the first half. EKU’s Parker McKinney was 7 of 12 for 93 yards with an interception.
Outside of the touchdown, it was not a good half for the Cats. UK had a punt blocked. Leary threw an interception. The Cats were forced to punt three times and lost the ball on downs once. All this against an EKU team that lost 66-13 at Cincinnati last Saturday.
Eastern Kentucky misses field goal attempt
As Kentucky’s offense continues to sputter, EKU completed a 40-yard pass from McKinney to Bryant Johnson Jr. to get inside the UK 40-yard line. But Patrick Nations’ 48-yard field goal attempt fell short with 4:40 left in the first half.
End of first quarter: Eastern Kentucky 7, Kentucky 0
The difference in the first period was EKU’s block of a Kentucky punt that gave the Colonels the ball at the home team’s 30. Six plays later, quarterback Parker McKinney scrambled for a 14-yard score. Kentucky has a 67-45 advantage in total yards but trails after the first 15 minutes.
Eastern Kentucky blocks punt, cashes in
Eastern Kentucky’s Cornelius Evans blocked a punt by UK’s Wilson Berry on the first possession of the game. Taking over at the Cats’ 30-yard-line, the Colonels scored in six plays. Quarterback Parker McKinney scrambled 14 yards for the score to put Eastern Kentucky up 7-0 with 10:48 left.
UK-EKU pregame links and info
Here are some links for our pregame prep: