Central Michigan coach Dan Enos wasn't sure that Kentucky's improved offensive performance in the second half here Saturday was all that complicated to figure out.
"Offensively, it seemed like they just started getting (Josh Clemons) the ball. I don't think he carried it in the first half," said Enos after UK rallied for a 27-13 win. "That was the big adjustment that I saw. He became a main part of the game. Clemons, to me, is a good football player. I believe he's a true freshman, but he is going to be a good football player."
Kentucky fans might think he already is after his game-changing 87-yard touchdown run — the longest ever by a Kentucky freshman — late in the third quarter.
Clemons, who had a 14-yard scoring run in his UK?debut against Western Kentucky, finished the game with 126 yards on 14 carries but it was the play where he bounced off tackles at the line, cut outside and then outran the Central Michigan defense that energized UK.
"I ran through the hole and I felt him hit me," Clemons, who became the first freshman to have a 100-yard rushing game since Arliss Beach in 2002, said. "I thought they were about to wrap me up, but they didn't. When I sensed that, I?looked for a hole, found one and took off running. I just didn't want anyone to catch me."
That's because Clemons and sophomore Raymond Sanders, who had 62 yards on eight carries, had joked at the team hotel about not getting "walked down" if one of them broke into the clear.
"I was cheering for him. I am proud of him," Sanders said. "I just didn't want him to get walked down. We feed off each other, and when he did that, I couldn't wait to run the ball more, too. His run gave the whole offense life. It helped our whole team."
Clemons had the longest UK scoring run since quarterback Bernie Scruggs' 87-yard run against Georgia in 1970. The only longer scoring runs in UK?history were 91 yards by Harry Jones in 1951 against George Washington and 88 yards by Bill Ransdell against Xavier in 1960.
"I haven't even really thought about that and I?probably won't," Clemons said. "I'm just happy I got the touchdown and helped the team out."
He never anticipated having a 100-yard rushing game so quick, either.
"I didn't really think it would happen, so I really don't even know how I feel about it," Clemons said.
Kentucky coach Joker Phillips knows how he feels about seeing the big run that will help open UK's passing attack even more in future games.
"He had some good carries,"?Phillips said. "I mean, unbelievable run when he broke that tackle. He showed speed. We thought he had speed, but we didn't know if he had that type of speed. He has game speed. He missed a couple of runs also, which he will be the first to tell you that. That will come with experience also. But he's a really natural runner, really good runner for us."
Sidebar with Josh Clemons
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