Game: Western Kentucky 35, Kentucky 26. After closing to within 21-17 at the end of the first half, the Wildcats gave up touchdowns on consecutive series to fall back 35-17 early in the fourth quarter. Mistakes then thwarted whatever hopes they had to rally. They got some life by kicking a field goal with 9:52 left and then stopped the Hilltoppers on the ensuing series. But Ryan Timmons lost a fumble at the end of his 33-yard run, giving the ball back to the Hilltoppers. After reviving their hopes by scoring with 1:37 left, they missed the extra point, leaving them in a nine-point (or two score) deficit.
Takeaway: Offensive coordinator Neal Brown, brought to Lexington by first-year coach Mark Stoops, was supposed to be installing a pass-happy offense with Kentucky, but it was the ground attack that kept the Wildcats in the game.
The Wildcats rushed for 216 yards, or 13 more than they got through the air. The problem was, Western Kentucky matched the total and also threw for 271 in giving new coach Bobby Petrino a win in his WKU debut.
The Wildcats also look like they will be going into their second week with a brewing quarterback controversy. Sophomore Jalen Whitlow started and rushed for 75 yards but threw for only 78 in going 10-of-15 passing over three quarters. Sophomore Maxwell Smith took over in the fourth quarter and threw for 125 yards and a touchdown in going 8-of-13.
-- Senior RB Raymond Sanders III just missed posting his third career 100-yard rushing game. He finished with 98 yards on just 14 carries.
-- Senior LB Avery Williamson stretched his streak of games with at least three tackles to 20 by posting 14 stops. He also recovered a fumble.
Next: Vs. Miami (Ohio), Sept. 7.