(University of Kentucky release ) LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Blue team racked up 426 yards of total offense on its way to a 31-20 win over the White team in the Kentucky football spring game on Saturday at Commonwealth Stadium.
"We have had a longer winter and more strenuous spring and they really worked hard to keep their concentration and work hard," Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops said. "I thought we wrapped it up with a good clean game today."
Jeff Badet caught three passes for 107 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the game, while Sihiem King had 95 yards rushing in the game to lead the Big Blue ground attack. Denzil Ware had a huge day for the Blue team on defense. Ware had 15 tackles, including four sacks and 4.5 tackles for loss. In the first quarter, Ware sacked Johnson on consecutive plays to end a White team scoring drive.
"Denzil really had some good rushes," Stoops said of the linebacker. "That's what you like to see when it's predictable pass and we're playing it straight we're rushing four and you just need to win a one-on-one. He won several of those today. That's good to see."
Neither team scored in the first quarter, although the Blue team was on the doorstep when the period ended. On the first play of the second quarter, Austin MacGinnis made a 29-yard field goal to make it 3-0 Blue team.
The Blue team had 101 total yards in the first period, while the White team was held to just 34 yards. Jojo Kemp was the main offensive weapon for the Blue team in the first quarter, rushing five times for 58 yards, including a 37-yard scamper that helped set up MacGinnis’ field goal.
With 9:34 to go in the second quarter, the Blue team added to its lead when quarterback Drew Barker connected with Ryan Timmons on a 64-yard touchdown pass, making it 10-0 Blue team. Barker threw a dart to Timmons across the middle, and Timmons turned on the afterburners to pull away and score untouched.
Late in the second quarter, the White team got on the board, driving 75 yards in 13 plays, culminating in a five-yard touchdown carry by King to cut the Blue lead to 10-7. Quarterback Stephen Johnson had 50 rushing yards on the drive, including a 29-yard rush that got the White team into scoring territory.
After Barker was intercepted by the White’s Jared Tucker, Johnson and King drove the White team back down the field, covering 60 yards in five plays, ending with a one-yard touchdown rush by Ditalian Tobler. The snap was fumbled on the extra point, and the White team led 13-10 with 1:57 left in the first half.
But Barker led the Blue team on a 10-play, 75-yard drive in 1:36, ending with a 15-yard scoring strike from Barker to tight end C.J. Conrad, who caught the pass in traffic, took a hit and held on to the ball. With that, the Blue team took a 17-13 lead into the break.
After a slow start, Barker was 12 of 18 through the air for 156 yards and two touchdowns in the first half. Kentucky’s projected starter, Barker did not play in the second half.
"It was really good to see Drew bounce back after the interception, come back, and really throw some really nice throws and some tight windows to make some explosive plays," Stoops said.
In the third quarter, Johnson, now playing quarterback for the Blue team, hit Badet with an 85-yard touchdown pass to stretch the Blue team’s lead to 24-13. Badet caught a screen pass across the middle, broke free down the right sideline and then made a quick cutback past midfield for the score.
Badet struck again in the fourth quarter, catching an 11-yard touchdown pass from freshman Gunnar Hoak, making it 31-13 Blue.
With less than a minute to go, the White team scored on a three-yard rush by quarterback Davis Mattingly, cutting into what would be the final margin.
Johnson, a junior college signee from Ranco Cucamonga, Calif., showed versatility in the game, passing for 135 yards and rushing for 47.