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Kentucky prepares for bigger challenge vs. Ohio

Published on NewsOK Modified: September 1, 2014 at 5:33 pm •  Published: September 1, 2014
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky fans should enjoy the Wildcats' dominating season debut against Tennessee-Martin — just not too much. At least not yet.

Sure, the Wildcats looked unstoppable at times in rolling up 656 yards and scoring the game's first 52 points before yielding a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns in the 59-14 rout. And offensive improvement was expected as players become more comfortable with coordinator Neal Brown's pass-oriented Air Raid scheme.

The Wildcats also had some defensive highlights against their FCS-level opponent, forcing five turnovers.

"It was a good first step," Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said on Monday,

UT-Martin did rush for 183 yards and Stoops stressed improvement is needed Saturday against Mid-American Conference member Ohio. The Bobcats edged Kent State 17-14 in their opener and have won five straight bowl games.

"They're a team that's not going to beat themselves," Stoops said of Ohio during his weekly news conference. "They're good and sound and return a tremendous amount of experience on defense. ... We'll have our hands full this week."

At the same time, Stoops hopes his team's dominating performance gives the Bobcats something to think about.

The coach was pleased with an offense that tallied the program's fourth-highest yardage total in a game. Sophomore quarterback Patrick Towles' first start offered promise as he hit long and short passes for 377 yards and a touchdown without being sacked; he also ran for a 23-yard TD.

Stout as Towles was, Kentucky's backfield nearly overshadowed him by exploding for several long TD runs. Junior Braylon Heard's only two carries were scores of 73 and 43 yards, a performance limited by a twisted ankle that sidelined him for the rest of the game.

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