Leary, Davis Lead Cats Past Akron
Devin Leary passed for 315 yards and three touchdowns and Ray Davis had 169 all-purpose yards as Kentucky blasted Akron 35-3 on Saturday night at Kroger Field.
Leary hit on 16 of 25 passing in the game, connecting on touchdowns to Josh Kattus, Tayvion Robinson and Davis.
Davis rushed for 72 yards on seven carries and caught three passes for 97 yards in the game. Kentucky ended the game with 450 yards of total offense.
On defense, Maxwell Hairston led the Cats with seven tackles, while Trevin Wallace had five, including a pair of sacks.
Kentucky got the ball first and the Cats got off to a very good start. Leary connected with Davis for a 39-yard completion to get UK into Akron territory. A Leary scramble earned the Cats another first down, as did a completion to Barion Brown. The drive would end when Leary connected with Kattus on a six-yard touchdown pass. Alex Raynor would add the extra point and UK grabbed an early 7-0 lead.
The UK defense forced Akron into a three and out on their first drive and the Zips were forced to punt. Kentucky would take over at its own 30 with 9:06 still remaining in the first quarter.
Kentucky would punt on its next possession, but Akron would muff the punt and UK’s Zion Childress recovered at the Akron 36 yard line. But the Cats were unable to move the ball and, after a delay of game penalty foiled a potential field goal attempt, UK punted the ball away.
Akron would punt again on its next possession and UK took over at its own 19 with 1:37 to play in the first quarter. The Cats would end the period with a 7-0 lead.
On the second play of the second quarter, Kentucky got a big completion from Leary to Jordan Dingle, covering 59 yards to the Akron 11 yard line. But as Dingle fought for extra yards, Akron’s Shammond Cooper forced a fumble that the Zips recovered in the end zone.
Akron would assemble a solid drive on the ensuing possession. The Zips would get inside the UK 30 but Kentucky’s defense forced a 47-yard field goal attempt from Noah Perez that came up short and the Cats maintained a 7-0 advantage with 5:39 left in the half.
Kentucky took advantage of the possession, and the Cats would drive deep into Akron territory, getting inside the 10. But a bad snap cost Kentucky 21 yards. However, just before the half, Leary found Robinson in the back of the end zone for a 24-yard touchdown. Raynor added the PAT and the Cats led 14-0 with eight seconds to play in the half. That would be the halftime score.
Akron got possession to start the second half. The Zips would get near midfield and appeared to have converted a fourth and short to keep the drive going. But an ineligible receiver downfield penalty negated the play and the Zips were forced to punt. Kentucky took over at its own 22 with 11:24 to play in the third quarter.
Kentucky appeared to stretch the lead on its next possession when Leary hit Anthony Brown-Stephens for a long touchdown. But the play was called back due to a holding penalty. On the very next play, Leary was intercepted by Akron’s Tyson Durant and the Zips took over at the UK 47.
Akron would drive into the UK red zone but on a third and four from the 19, Wallace came up with the sack, forcing Akron into a 36-yard Perez field goal, which was good, and the UK lead was trimmed to 14-3 with 3:27 left in the third period.
The play of the game came on the next UK drive. With Kentucky facing a third and 11, Leary was under pressure and looked like he would be sacked. But at the last minute, he got the ball to Davis, who scampered 58 yards down the left sideline for the touchdown. Raynor added the PAT and the Cats extended the lead to 21-3 with 1:38 to play in the third quarter. That would be the score at the end of the period.
After another Akron punt, Kentucky was able to extend the lead on its next possession. UK needed just three plays to cover 73 yards, the final 55 coming on a Davis touchdown run. Raynor added another PAT and the Cats led 28-3 with 13:47 to play.
Akron would drive into UK territory on its next drive but Perez would miss a 38-yard field goal and the score remained 28-3 with 10:31 to play.
Late in the fourth quarter, Kentucky added to its lead. Demie Sumo-Karngbaye rushed for 42 yards to get the Cats deep into Akron territory. Two plays later, Sumo-Karngbaye scored from six yards out for his first touchdown in a Kentucky uniform. Raynor added the extra point and the Cats led 35-3 with 3:04 remaining.
Kentucky hits the road for the first time next Saturday, opening Southeastern Conference play at Vanderbilt. Kickoff is set for noon ET and the game can be seen on the SEC Network.