USA Today/Dale Zanine

Kentucky coach Mark Stoops names Drew Barker starting QB for Charlotte game

Kentucky coach Mark Stoops announced Monday that redshirt freshman quarterback Drew Barker will get his first collegiate starting assignment Saturday when the Wildcats play host to Charlotte at Commonwealth Stadium.

"Drew is going to start this game," Stoops said during his weekly luncheon. "It was good to get him some more reps and some more game experience (in last week's game at Vanderbilt). He went in there on that first possession and gave us a little spark and moved it down the field for a touchdown. That was good to see."

Barker went 3-for-3 for 57 yards and a 7-yard touchdown on his first series against the Commodores in relief of ineffective starter Patrick Towles. He later experienced some of the same problems that Towles had against Vandy's stingy defense and split snaps the remainder of the game after throwing a pick-6 interception in the Dores' 21-17 win.

Kentucky (4-6, 2-6 SEC) has lost five consecutive games and needs to win out against Charlotte and Louisville to qualify for the program's first bowl bid in five years.

"We have been talking about it for a while," Stoops said. "A lot of times it comes to players around him making plays and doing things (to make it easier) on the quarterback. But it's time for Drew to start. That is the bottom line. He has done some good things and earned the right."

Asked if it was a permanent switch, Stoops said the decision was based only upon this week's game. The starting job for the finale against Louisville will be determined based upon Barker's performance against Charlotte.

CLICK HERE to read all of Stoops' notes and quotes from Monday's presser and join in the discussion with other UK fans on our AllWildcats Football Forum.

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