LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – For a moment, UK head coach Mark Stoops probably thought he was having a case of a Déjà vu.
Just like last year, his team was playing Southern Miss in the season opener, and once again, their lead was evaporating.
But this time around, Kentucky was able to hold on, thanks in large part to their defense forcing three turnovers in a 24-17 win Saturday in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.
Stephen Johnson led the UK offense on 11-20 passing with 176 yards and 1 touchdown. Johnson, who also ran for a touchdown, was one of the few bright spots for a Kentucky attack that was limited to just 78 yards rushing.
The heroes of the day for UK was clearly its defense. With the Golden Eagles threatening to take the lead later in the third quarter, the Cats forced a fumble on quarterback Kwadra Griggs. Denzil Ware then scooped it up and took it back 20 yards to give UK a two touchdown edge
Southern Miss would again threaten in the fourth but again the UK defense came up big by forcing another fumble to cut the drive short and keep their seven point lead in tact.
Kentucky (1-0) plays Eastern Kentucky next Saturday in the home opener at Kroger Field.
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