Can Morgan Newton get it done?

The 4-star dual threat quarterback out of Carmel Indiana was supposed to redshirt this season, watching redshirt junior--and returning starting quarterback--Mike Hartline take the reigns of the UK football carriage. Junior Will Fidler was the designated backup. A knee injury suffered at South Carolina all but ending Hartline's season, and plans changed.

There were times that Newton looked outstanding, like this pass to Chris Mathews to put Kentucky ahead 7-0 in the Music City Bowl versus Clemson.


Other times, however, he appeared to be, well, a freshman whose inexperience showed, sometimes holding the ball too long, other times missing "easy" passes that cost Kentucky valuable field position.

Newton finished the season hitting 75-135 passes, with only three interceptions, but with only 706 yards passing and six touchdowns. In the Music City Bowl, with three weeks to prepare, he was 13-23, 98 yards, and one touchdown.

"I thought he did some really good things," UK head coach Rich Brooks said about Newton after the game. Brooks also admitted, however, that if the Wildcats had another possession in the game, he would probably have replaced Newton with Mike Hartline. Clemson ran out the clock and the last five minutes, however, and Hartline did not get a chance to play. In fact, Brooks admitted that the staff thought about replacing Newton at halftime.

"We talked about it at halftime, and we were talking about it if we would have gotten the ball back (for another possession), but they ran the clock out on us," he said. Brooks said that Newton was performing okay, but that the team wasn't doing enough to help him, and that they may have needed a spark.

Will Newton's erratic play this year as a freshman turn into solid, consistent play as a sophomore next year? Or will it lead to an intense quarterback battle with fifth year senior Mike Hartline, and fellow 4-star blue chip quarterback Ryan Mossakowski? Mossakowski redshirted this year, partially to rehabilitate an injured shoulder that is reported to have healed 100%.

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