October 01, 2012
Sophomore quarterback Maxwell Smith is out for this weekend's game against Mississippi State and could be out for the season. He'll undergo surgery for a ligament injury in his ankle. That means true freshman Jalen Whitlow will likely get his first career start, but head coach Joker Phillips said fellow freshman Patrick Towles will both play the rest of the way.
It will be the third time in four seasons that a true freshman quarterback has started a game for UK. Maxwell Smith did it after Morgan Newton was injured in 2011, and Newton had to do it when Mike Hartline was hurt in 2009.
The good news? Both of the first two quarterbacks to do it won their debuts, even though both of them were playing against SEC opponents.
Newton went just 5-13 for 39 yards on the road at Auburn in 2009, but had a rushing touchdown and helped UK beat the Tigers 21-14. He didn't play much in the second half as the coaching staff switched to veteran Will Fidler and Randall Cobb in the Wildcat.
Smith went 19-36 for 283 yards and two touchdowns, helping the offense score 20 points in the fourth quarter to beat Ole Miss 30-13 last season. It was Kentucky's first SEC win of the year.
We'll have to find out if history holds true on Saturday.