LEXINGTON, KY (WAVE) - Quarterback controversy, what quarterback controversy?
Stephen Johnson held off Drew Barker in the battle in Lexington.
Johnson, who started the final nine games of the 2016, will be under center for the 2017 season opener.
"The number one issue is ball security and I think he's worked really hard with that," Cats head coach Mark Stoops said. "I think, as you know, he's a very conscientious young man and that's extremely important to him."
Drew Barker was the opening night starter in 2016. He threw for a career-high 323 yards and four touchdowns in a 44-35 loss to Southern Miss. Barker is fully recovered from November back surgery and will be the Cats backup.
"Let's not worry about who the starter is and who's not, whenever he goes into the game and gets the opportunity, he has to function at a high level and he's taken that attitude of just going to work everyday at practice to improve himself." Stoops said.
The Cats at Golden Eagles kick off at 4 p.m. on Saturday in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.