Kemp, ground game shine in B-W Game

Kentucky's deep stable of running backs tried to steal the spotlight from the drama surrounding the Wildcats' quarterback competition during Saturday's Blue-White Spring Game.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky's deep stable of running backs tried to steal the spotlight from the drama surrounding the Wildcats' quarterback competition during Saturday's Blue-White Spring Game.

Sophomore tailback JoJo Kemp rushed for 90 yards on 11 carries, caught two passes for 41 yards and scored two touchdowns in leading the Blue team to a 38-14 win over the White squad with a crowd of 35,117 at Commonwealth Stadium.

The Blue team also got 56 yards on seven carries from junior Braylon Heard, a transfer from Nebraska eligible to play this season after sitting out 2013, and 40 yards on four carries from junior Josh Clemons on an impressive day for the ground attack.

Sign up for AllWildcats!

"I feel good about our depth (at running back), I really do," UK head coach Mark Stoops said. "As you know, we need it, and I like the way those guys played. You can see Jojo (Kemp) is a different guy. He's healthier. His ankles are healthier. He's stronger. He's more explosive.

"And certainly having Braylon Heard, we are awfully excited about Braylon. He's just got a calmness about him. He always competes, but he's a very mature kid and he's explosive out there. So great to have him. You saw the other guys, too, Josh (Clemons) and Mikel Horton. We are deep there. So we are going to need him."

Horton, a freshman who enrolled at UK in January, led the White squad with 70 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries.

The Blue team consisted primarily of the first-team offense and defense, but Kentucky's three quarterbacks – Patrick Towles, Reese Phillips and Drew Barker – split time on both sides.

Towles, a sophomore and former Kentucky "Mr. Football" from Fort Thomas Highlands, started the game with the first unit. He finished with the best numbers of the three quarterbacks, completing 11 of 15 passes for 126 yards and leading several scoring drives. His lone blemish on the day was an interception by defensive end Za'Darius Smith on a tipped ball at the line of scrimmage.

Phillips, a redshirt freshman from Tennessee, went 10-for-17 for 74 yards and two touchdowns, hitting tight end Steven Borden on a 17-yard strike for the Blue team just before halftime and connecting with Blue fullback D.J. Warren for a 1-yard score in the third quarter.

Freshman Drew Barker, another early enrollee for UK out of Connor High School, went 7-for-19 for 74 yards and one touchdown, a picturesque 30-yard connection with Demarco Robinson in the end zone with 5:58 left in the game.

"I think you saw Patrick (Towles) do some good things," Stoops said. "You saw the other quarterbacks do some good things. Patrick, along with the other two, were a little bit shaky at times, as well, like you'd expect – rushing a few things, missed a few throws – things that they would like to have over, but Patrick is improved. You saw him a year ago and you see him now, you see the improvement and I'm proud of that.

"I think we are better around (the quarterback). I think when we have everybody healthy, all the quarterbacks will look better. So there's no decision yet (on a starter). I'm proud of the effort Pat has done and I really like the other two, as well. I think the other two are great quarterbacks and certainly had some great days this spring. So we'll see."

Robinson led all receivers with eight receptions for 115 yards and a touchdown. Ryan Timmons added five catches for 47 yards.

Junior safety/linebacker Daron Blaylock led all defenders with nine tackles for the White squad. Teammate Alvin Davis, a senior defensive end, was credited with five tackles and a sack. Sophomore cornerback Jaleel Haytchye broke up two passes.

The Blue defense got five tackles from junior middle linebacker Josh Forrest. Smith had four tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, a sack and an interception on a disruptive day from his defensive end spot. Christian Coleman, Mike Douglas and Jason Hatcher were also credited with sacks for the Blue team.

• 1Q, 9:45 – BLUE - Jojo Kemp 4-yard run (Austin MacGinnis kick).

• 1Q, 2:05 – WHITE - Josh Clemons 2-yard run (Austin MacGinnis kick).

• 2Q, 2:21 – BLUE - Jojo Kemp 48-yard run (Austin MacGinnis kick).

• 2Q, 2:00 – BLUE - Steven Borden 17-yard pass from Reese Phillips (Austin MacGinnis kick)

• 2Q, 0:00 – BLUE - Austin MacGinnis 40-yard field goal.

• 3Q, 4:31 – BLUE - D.J. Warren 1-yard pass from Reese Phillips

• 4Q, 10:34 – WHITE – Mikel Horton 1-yard run (Austin MacGinnis kick).

• 4Q, 5:58 – BLUE – Demarco Robinson 30-yard pass from Drew Barker (Austin MacGinnis kick).

AllWildcats Top Stories