Kentucky kicked off the 2023 season in winning fashion, defeating Ball State 44-14 Saturday afternoon in front of 58,286 at Kroger Field.
Devin Leary and Ray Davis made their debuts as Kentucky Wildcats. Leary completed 18-of-31 passes for 241 yards, including one touchdown and interception. Meanwhile, Davis eclipsed 100 yards on the ground, carrying the ball fourteen times for 112 yards and two touchdowns.
Five of Leary’s completions were to sophomore wide receiver Dane Key, who recorded 96 yards on eight targets, the longest a 44-yard reception on the first offensive play of the game. Key added a five-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter.
While the offense had scoring drives, Kentucky also got scores from the Wildcat defense and special teams. With Kentucky leading 10-7 in the second quarter, Alex Afari forced a fumble that Jalen Geiger scooped and returned 69 yards for a touchdown.
Kentucky should have had a second scoop and score in the first half but an official whistled the play dead when Jordan Lovett recovered a Ball State fumble. Instead of a touchdown, Kentucky settled for one of three first-half field goals from Alex Raynor.
The most electric play of the game came from the legs of wide receiver/returner Barion Brown. The sophomore speedster fielded a kick late in the third quarter and raced 99 yards for a touchdown. Brown also returned a kick for a touchdown in the season opener last season.
You can relive all of the highlights from Kentucky’s win below.
Highlights from our 44-14 win in the season opener. pic.twitter.com/o4f7wf5zN2
— Kentucky Football (@UKFootball) September 2, 2023