By KEITH TAYLOR, Kentucky Today
LEXINGTON — Mark Stoops put the ball in Lynn Bowden’s hands and the Wildcats ran with it, ending a three-game losing streak with a 24-20 win over Arkansas Saturday night.
Stoops and his staff made the decision to make a switch at quarterback to give Sawyer Smith more time to heal in preparation for the remainder of the season.
Bowden, who also fielded a punt return, rushed for 196 yards and two touchdowns, including a 24-yard run with 6:53 remaining to help the Wildcats (3-3, 1-3) claim their first Southeastern Conference victory of the season. Bowden sprinkled in some passes and threw for 78 yards, including a 10-yard touchdown pass to Clevan Thomas.
Overall, the Wildcats collected 418 yards with most of that yardage coming on the ground. Paced by Bowden, Kentucky rushed for 330 yards. AJ Rose and Kavoseiy Smoke combined for 145 yards, with each runner breaking one run for 25 yards or more.
Aside from leading the offense, Bowden’s main goal was to keep the team in a pose frame of mind, even when the Wildcats got off to a slow start and fell behind 13-0 early in the second quarter. He was “at a loss for words “ and gave “all the glory to my teammates.”
“I’m a very vocal leader on the team and If I get down, then the team gets down,” he said. “I just kept confident and stayed positive throughout the whole game and I think it showed out there with my teammates and how I took it.”
Although experienced at playing under center, it was Bowden’s work behind the scenes that resulted in his performance against Razorbacks.
“When we talked to Lynn about playing quarterback full-time, he totally bought in,” Kentucky quarterbacks coach Darin Hinshaw said. “He was early to every one of my meetings and he watched extra film. He was constantly asking questions and he was constantly taking notes and doing everything you want for someone to take this serious — he’s not just a Wildcat quarterback, but he wants to play the position of quarterback.”