LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Stephen Johnson accounted for two touchdowns and Benny Snell rushed for the go-ahead touchdown late in the third quarter to rally Kentucky past Eastern Kentucky 27-16 on Saturday.
Nearly two years after rallying late to eventually beat the FCS Colonels 34-27 in overtime, the Wildcats (2-0) overcame ineffective play on both sides of the ball that created a 13-3 second-quarter deficit. Johnson rebounded from a shaky start to hit tight end C.J. Conrad for a 23-yard TD just before halftime and then Blake Bone for 43 yards in the third. Snell's 25-yard TD run on the next play provided a 17-16 lead.
On the next possession, Johnson spun past several defenders down the right sideline for a 21-yard TD run with 10:09 remaining. He finished 15 of 22 passing for 224 yards and rushed for 48 yards. Kentucky outgained EKU 436-318 in its home opener and improved to 5-0 against the Colonels (0-2).
Eastern Kentucky: The Colonels got the fast start they wanted, moved the ball well deep into the third quarter and seemed to have Kentucky on the ropes with a 16-10 lead. But they let the Wildcats slip away again, yielding TDs on consecutive possessions while stalling offensively. Tim Boyle completed 24 of 35 passes for 202 yards and a 7-yard TD to Ryan Markush, and ex-Louisville player L.J. Scott rushed for a 7-yard score.
Kentucky: The Wildcats struggled for two-plus quarters before settling down to gut out another win. Johnson's arm kept them within reach, and his feet provided the insurance TD. Snell left the game twice in the first half with an injury before reclaiming his bullish rhythm to put Kentucky ahead and finish with 103 yards rushing on 19 carries. Austin MacGinnis added the second of two 39-yard field goals with 23 seconds left.
Eastern Kentucky: The Colonels are off next week before hosting Tennessee Tech on Sept. 23.
Kentucky: The Wildcats open Southeastern Conference play at South Carolina on Sept. 16.
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