LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Kent State pulled within a field goal of Kentucky early in the third quarter, but the Wildcats' big plays and Southeastern Conference speed proved to be too much in the second half of a 47-14 win over the Golden Flashes.
After Trayion Durham's 26-yard touchdown run off right tackle made it 17-14 with 10:34 left in the third quarter, Kentucky rattled off 30 unanswered points.
"When we made it 14-17 coming out of the half, I felt we had a good chance of some momentum," Kent State coach Darrell Hazell said. "But they came and responded right back with a big play. Those things got away from us pretty quickly."
Kent State defensive end Jake Dooley said Kentucky's speed caught up with the Golden Flashes.
"The tempo was really fast," he said. "We tried to drill in practice, but we just could not do it at the tempo that they did it."
Kentucky's Maxwell Smith had a career-best 354 yards passing and four touchdowns and Raymond Sanders added a career-high 115 yards rushing filling in at tailback for an injured CoShik Williams.
The Wildcats, who trailed 7-0 at the end of the first quarter, racked up 539 yards to wear down the Golden Flashes. Aaron Boyd caught 11 passes for 100 yards for Kentucky (1-1).
Durham and Dri Archer each rushed for a touchdown for Kent State (1-1).
Boyd caught his first career touchdown in the back of the end zone with 14:04 remaining in the first half. Six minutes later, Sanders rushed 67 yards for a score, then Craig McIntosh booted a 47-yard field goal to give Kentucky a 17-7 halftime lead.
Smith's 18-yard touchdown pass to a diving Gene McCaskill capped an 11-play, 80-yard drive with 7:06 left in the third quarter. Kentucky forced its first turnover of the season on the first play of the ensuing Kent State drive. Quarterback Spencer Keith optioned left, pitching to Archer. Wildcats cornerback Martavius Neloms launched into Archer's chest, jarring the ball loose, and Miles Simpson recovered, returning the ball 10 yards to the Kent State 7-yard line.