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2022 MAC Football Week 1 Game Recap: Kentucky Wildcats 37, Miami RedHawks 13

After a tight game in the first half, Kentucky used a strong start in the 3rd quarter to pull away from the RedHawks.

Miami Ohio v Kentucky Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

The Miami RedHawks held their own during the first 30 minutes of their contest against the Kentucky Wildcats. The game was tied and 7-7, and then again at 10-10, before the Wildcats were able to snag a field goal right before the half and take a 13-10 lead into the locker room.

However, it didn’t take long for UK to separate themselves in the second half - scoring 14 points in just over a minute. First, the second half kickoff was returned 100-yards for a touchdown. Then, on Miami’s second play of the half, Jaylon Bester fumbled which was scooped up by the Wildcats and returned down to the 8-yard line. Kentucky would punch it in a few plays later when Will Levis found Chauncey Magwood in the endzone to give UK a 27-10 lead after just 62 seconds.

From there, the RedHawks would string together a nice, 11-play 65-yard drive but couldn’t find a way into the endzone, instead settling for a 27-yard field goal that cut the score back down to two possessions. It would be the last time Miami got into scoring range.

After the teams traded punts, Kentucky found a way to drive into field goal range and hit a 50-yard attempt to push the lead back up to three scores, at 30-13. Miami would stall on their next possession and once again give the ball back to the Wildcats, who drove 84-yards in nine plays to score the final points of the game - a 1-yard pass from Levis to Dane Key.

For the most part, the RedHawk defense look really solid...especially in the first half, holding the SEC team to just one TD and a pair of field goals. The offense had moments where they shined and moved the ball rather well against this stout defense, tallying 290 yards on offense to Kentucky’s 353 yards. If not for that kick return and big fumble return, this is a MUCH closer game.

Gabbert was quite effective, going 20/28 for 166 yards. He also ran it ten times for 28 yards. Mac Hippenhammer was his biggest target, with 7 grabs for 85 yards, but seven RedHawk players had two or more catches.

On the ground Tyre Sheltonled the way with 50 yards and their only touchdown on seven carries while Keyon Mozee added 25 yards on his seven touches.

For Kentucky, Levis ended the day 21/32 with 303 yards and three touchdowns to one interception. Tayvion Washington did most of the damage there, snagging six passes for 136 yards. Their ground game never got anything going, as the RedHawk defense held them to just 50 rushing yards on 26 attempts. Kavosiey Smoke led the way with 32 yards on seven rushes.

Miami will head home to take on Robert Morris next Saturday, September 10th. But the MAC isn’t done with Kentucky just yet. The Wildcats will host both the MAC East and MAC West favorites as the NIU Huskies head to Lexington to take on UK in a few weeks, on September 24th.