Canada Markets closed
  • S&P/TSX

    21,058.18
    -147.02 (-0.69%)
     
  • S&P 500

    4,482.73
    -50.03 (-1.10%)
     
  • DOW

    34,715.39
    -313.21 (-0.89%)
     
  • CAD/USD

    0.7979
    -0.0020 (-0.2498%)
     
  • CRUDE OIL

    86.29
    -0.61 (-0.70%)
     
  • BTC-CAD

    48,491.84
    -4,358.69 (-8.25%)
     
  • CMC Crypto 200

    913.42
    -81.85 (-8.22%)
     
  • GOLD FUTURES

    1,841.60
    -1.00 (-0.05%)
     
  • RUSSELL 2000

    2,024.04
    -38.74 (-1.88%)
     
  • 10-Yr Bond

    1.8330
    +0.0060 (+0.33%)
     
  • NASDAQ futures

    14,623.50
    -217.50 (-1.47%)
     
  • VOLATILITY

    25.59
    +1.74 (+7.30%)
     
  • FTSE

    7,585.01
    -4.65 (-0.06%)
     
  • NIKKEI 225

    27,228.86
    -544.04 (-1.96%)
     
  • CAD/EUR

    0.7041
    -0.0026 (-0.37%)
     

Will Levis came to UK as a ‘running QB.’ He had a record day as one against U of L.

In rushing for four touchdowns in UK’s 52-21 win over Louisville, Will Levis did something only six other players in school history have done.

The last to achieve that feat did so against the same school, in much the same fashion: Lynn Bowden set a Governor’s Cup record with four rushing TDs as the Wildcats physically dominated the visiting Cardinals in a 45-13 win. With two years to strengthen up in the trenches, U of L in year three under Scott Satterfield looked just as overwhelmed as it did in 2019, the last time these two got together.

Levis feasted to the tune of 113 yards on 14 carries. He was barely touched on all four of his scores, most of them coming on draw plays that UK thought it could have success with coming into Saturday. They worked out better than anyone on the Cats’ sideline could have dreamed.

“I knew they were in the game plan but we literally called the same play, I think, four or five times,” Levis said. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, I guess. It’s a good play for us.”

Kentucky ended with 511 total yards, 362 of them coming on the ground. There were multiple plays ran that were called as passes but that ended with Levis scurrying for double-digit yardage. The Wildcats by no means struggled through the air — Levis was 14 of 18 for 149 yards — but their ability to dominate at the line of scrimmage again gave themselves plenty of open turf.

Levis, who on Monday dove headfirst into the rivalry by swapping out the L’s in his tweets with upside-down L’s on Twitter, offered up “L’s down” hand gestures every time after trotting into the end zone. He looked forward to doing so, he said.

“It felt good, it felt really good,” Levis said. “I’m usually not one to do that kind of stuff, but I mean, with the rivalry this week, it’s something I was planning on doing, for sure. I’ve seen guys like Benny (Snell) and all them doing it when they were playing in the game. It felt natural.”

Kentucky quarterback Will Levis (7), who ran for four touchdowns against Louisville, high-fived fans on the way off the field after Saturday night’s 52-21 victory.
Kentucky quarterback Will Levis (7), who ran for four touchdowns against Louisville, high-fived fans on the way off the field after Saturday night’s 52-21 victory.

Throughout the week, UK players and staff who’d played against Louisville felt like they’d have a distinct physical advantage. It didn’t take long for first-time rivalry participants to understand why.

“Our staff actually helped me understand, ‘We will be more physical, we will be the more physical unit, we will run the football well, you just gotta stick with it,’” Coen said.

That was hard to digest at first, because of how U of L’s defense showed up on film, Coen said. UK often put its receivers in wider splits to try and create some cleaner running lanes, and that proved effective, but the Wildcats this week mostly were able to thrive based on the fruits of their past labor.

“They just know where they’ve had success in the past, and that’s something that I’m continuing to learn,” Coen said. “’Just do what they want to do, do what they’re confident in.’ It may not always be what I want to do or what I’m comfortable with, or a play I’ve run a lot of times, but if they know it, they like it and they can execute it, that’s what it’s all about. It’s not about me, it’s about what they can do.”

Levis was known as a running quarterback at Penn State, from which he transferred ahead of this season. He’d rushed for 274 yards and five touchdowns at UK prior to Saturday, few enough for Satterfield to address the abnormality of his latest effort in the opening statement of his postgame press conference.

He didn’t think his team was mismatched physically; he thought it was more about execution and run fits.

“I know there were holes and I know there were guys running free and their quarterback ran,” Satterfield said. “One of the plays on third down, we bought pressure and he spins out of a tackle, and he picks up a big first down and they ended up scoring on that drive. That’s not a physical mismatch, that’s a missed tackle.”

Kentucky quarterback Will Levis (7) picked up some extra yards past Louisville defenders Ashton Gillotte (97), Yasir Abdullah, center, and Chandler Jones during Saturday’s game at Cardinal Stadium.
Kentucky quarterback Will Levis (7) picked up some extra yards past Louisville defenders Ashton Gillotte (97), Yasir Abdullah, center, and Chandler Jones during Saturday’s game at Cardinal Stadium.

Whatever the reason, Levis running around in Cardinal Stadium on Saturday looked a lot like Bowden running around at Kroger Field in 2019. Luke Fortner blocked for both; who’s the tougher runner?

“I’d probably go with Will, but I don’t know if you can call him a better runner than Lynn, though,” Fortner said.

Levis’ success on the ground was even starker contrasted with the relative ineffectiveness of Cardinals star Malik Cunningham, who was held to 35 yards and a touchdown on 11 rushes. He dismissed the notion that the hype surrounding Cunningham and U of L’s offense coming into the game motivated him and his teammates.

“He’s a great player and he deserves all the attention that he’s gotten,” Levis said. “I’m just glad the right team came out on top tonight.”

Kentucky’s 9-3 after another rout of U of L. How does this season stack up in UK history?

Wan’Dale Robinson sets UK’s all-time receptions record in Kentucky-Louisville game

Kentucky and Louisville football players separated after skirmish on the sidelines

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting