Kentucky 36, Louisiana-Monroe 13
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP)All-around offensive threat Randall Cobb scored two touchdowns, including a 73-yard punt return, to lead Kentucky to a 36-13 win over Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday night.
Cobb also ran for 41 yards and a touchdown and had 27 receiving yards.
The Wildcats (4-3) were still without starting quarterback Mike Hartline and used Cobb, Morgan Newton and Will Fidler at quarterback.
The Warhawks (4-3) had their opportunities, but scored just two touchdowns to show for five drives that advanced inside Kentucky's 20-yard line.
Cody Wells threw a touchdown pass to Luther Ambrose and Frank Goodin had a 3-yard touchdown run for Louisiana-Monroe. Wells made his first career start and completed 21 of 44 passes for 267 yards, but threw three interceptions. Regular Warhawks' starter Trey Revell broke his thumb in their previous game, a 16-10 win over Arkansas State.
Despite the loss, the Warhawks offense was effective, though not able to capitalize in scoring opportunities. They had 12 first-down conversions on 19 third downs and had 377 yards of total offense.
But the Wildcats rushed out to a 21-0 lead that the Warhawks were not able to recover from.
After Louisiana-Monroe went three-and-out on the first possession of the game, the Wildcats drove 55 yards for their first score, a 1-yard run by fullback John Conner. He also had a 39-yard run two plays before the score.
Louisiana-Monroe failed again to convert a first down on their next possession. A Louisiana-Monroe defender bumped Cobb as he waited for the punt to come down. Cobb was still able to make the catch and scamper across the field to the right sideline and to the end zone.
Two series later, after a punt by the Warhawks and an interception by Louisiana-Monroe cornerback Nate Brown, the Warhawks made their first scoring threat. With their drive beginning at the Kentucky 42-yard line, they converted two third downs and got as close as the Kentucky 6. A holding penalty, and mishandled snap on a field-goal attempt, Louisiana-Monroe still had a zero on the scoreboard.
Kentucky scored on its first possession of the second quarter, when Cobb put on a personal highlight reel. He caught an 11-yard pass on third-and-8, then had two runs out of the wildcat formation, a 28-yard gain, and his second touchdown of the night, an 11-yard run.
The Warhawks responded with their first score, a 10-yard screen pass from Wells to Ambrose. Wells got his team out of a few jams on the drive, completing passes for first downs on third-and-10, third-and-12, and third-and-7.
Wildcats defensive lineman Corey Peters got Kentucky's lone sack, but the Wildcats kept the pressure on Wells, knocking him down several times as he tried to pass.
Kentucky scored again before the half, and Louisiana-Monroe came away with nothing on another trip inside the Wildcats' red zone. Warhawks coach Bobby Weatherbie thought there should have been time on the clock for a field goal attempt after Wells' incomplete pass toward the end zone. The last play of the half went off with 7 seconds to play, leaving the score 28-7 at the break.
Goodin ran for a touchdown late in the third quarter, but Kentucky blocked the extra point, making the score 28-13.
The Wildcats scored a safety in the third quarter, when the Warhawks were backed up against their end zone and Wells fumbled the snap. Cornerback Randall Burden intercepted a pass and returned it for a touchdown to give the Wildcats their final margin.
Kentucky linebacker Micah Johnson left the game during the first quarter with a strained knee ligament. Johnson will have his knee examined Sunday or Monday, coach Rich Brooks said.