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Levis, Ali, Robinson shine in Kentucky’s season-opening win over ULM Saturday in Lexington

By Keith Taylor
Kentucky Today

The opening series of the new season wasn’t the way Kentucky had it scripted. The final story had a better ending.

Showcasing its new offense under first-year offensive coordinator Liam Coen, who was brought in during the off-season by the Los Angeles Rams to create balance within the team’s scheme, the first pass thrown by quarterback Will Levis tipped off the hands of receiver Josh Ali.

Wan’Dale Robinson’s first catch of his UK career was a touchdown catch from Will Levis in a 45-10 win over ULM Saturday at Kroger Field. (Photo by Les Nicholson, Kentucky Today)

The visitors seized the miscue and scored the first touchdown of the year at Kroger Field, but from that point on, glimpses of Coen’s offense began to take shape. The Wildcats closed out the first half with 28 unanswered points and rolled to a 45-10 victory over the Warhawks in the season opener for both teams.

Eager for a passing attack, mixed in with Kentucky’s traditional running attack, didn’t disappoint in Levis’ debut as Kentucky’s signal-caller. In the first half alone, Levis threw for 246 yards and three touchdowns in the first half. Levis finished with 367 yards passing and four touchdowns.

Like Levis, Ali recovered quickly from the third play of the first drive and hauled in five passes for 136 yards and one touchdown. Ali netted four catches for 112 yards, including a 58-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter.

Former Kentucky Mr. Football Wan’Dale Robinson got in on the fun as well and made five catches for 125 yards and a pair of touchdowns. His first catch in a Kentucky uniform was a 33-yard touchdown strike from Levis, setting the tone for the remainder of the opening half.

The performances by Levis, Robinson, and Ali provided a glimpse of what Coen’s offense will look like this season even though the Wildcats were heavily favored in the opener.

The running game was efficient and provided balance with an offense that relied heavily on the passing game. Chris Rodriguez finished with 125 yards rushing and one touchdown. Overall, the Wildcats rushed for 145 yards and compiled 564 yards of offense against the Warhawks, who managed just 87 total yards of offense.

Combined with the first-quarter interception, the Wildcats committed three turnovers, which will require the attention of the coaching staff going into Saturday’s Southeastern Conference opener against Missouri.

Gametracker: Missouri at Kentucky, 7:30 p.m. Saturday. TV/Radio: SEC Network, UK Radio Network.

Keith Taylor is sports editor for Kentucky Today. Reach him at keith.taylor@kentuckytoday.com or twitter @keithtaylor21.

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