Football Begins 2014 Season with UT Martin at CWS
Aug. 28, 2014
After months of preparation and planning, the University of Kentucky football team is set to begin its second season under head coach Mark Stoops when it plays host to the UT Martin Skyhawks on Saturday, Aug. 30 at noon ET inside Commonwealth Stadium.
The Wildcats and Skyhawks will meet for the first time in program history on Saturday with UK trying to win its season opener for the first time since 2011 when it bested WKU in Nashville at LP Field.
Head Coach Mark Stoops, entering his second season with the Wildcats, welcomes back 15 primary returning starters from last season, seven on offense and eight on defense. And, as a byproduct of the team's youth over the last two seasons, 36 returnees have started at least one game during their careers. All told, UK returns 49 lettermen from last season, including 22 on offense, 24 on defense and three specialists.
UT Martin is coming off a 7-5 season, including a 5-3 mark in Ohio Valley Conference play. The Skyhawks return 61 lettermen, including 10 starters under ninth year head coach Jason Simpson.
Cat Scratches: Consistency UK's aim in opening 2014 season
After briefly letting Towles hang out to dry, the second-year head coach told the Fort Thomas, Ky., native he had won Kentucky's long-running quarterback battle.
Considering Towles had spent most of his football-playing life working toward the moment, the celebration that followed was more short-lived than you might expect.
"Obviously I got the nod, I'm excited about that," Towles said. "It's what I've always wanted, but that's over with now. I've gotta worry about playing Tennessee Martin on Saturday." ... read the full preview
Scouting UT Martin
Entering his ninth season as the head coach of the Skyhawks, Jason Simpson returns 10 starters from lat year's squad that went 7-5, including a 5-3 mark in the Ohio Valley Conference. All totaled, UT Martin returns 61 letterwinners from 2012, including 30 on offense and 31 on defense. The Skyhawks will replace 12 starters from last season, including five on offense and seven on defense.
Returning from last season on the offensive side of the ball is redshirt junior quarterback Jarod Neal, who completed 57.4 percent of his passes last year for 1,529 yards and nine touchdowns. Neal, who tossed seven interceptions in 2012, split time with Dylan Favre, who went 101-for-142 for 1,081 yards and nine touchdowns. UT Martin also returns both starting guards and tackles from last season along with wide receiver/tight end Corey Jordan, who had 13 receptions for 128 yards and a touchdown.
Defensively, UTM returns senior linebacker Tony Bell, who posted 80 tackles last season, including 15 tackles for loss, 10.5 sacks, eight quarterback hurries, three fumbles forced and three fumble recoveries. Also returning is defensive back Leon Carlton III, who had 40 tackles, two tackles for loss, three pass breakups and one interception. Returning starters on the defensive line are Ryan Isom and Matt Murphy. Isom had 31 tackles last season with three tackles for loss and five quarterback hurries, while Murphy had 13 tackles and three quarterback hurries.