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Will Levis, No. 9 Kentucky too strong for Youngstown State

Sep 10, 2022; Gainesville, Florida, USA; Kentucky Wildcats head coach Mark Stoops looks on during the second half against the Florida Gators at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Will Levis threw for two touchdowns and ran for another as No. 9 Kentucky posted its first shutout in 13 years with a 31-0 victory over visiting Youngstown State on Saturday in Lexington, Ky.

Levis completed 27 of 35 passes for 377 yards in the Wildcats’ first win as a top-10 team since 1977.

Dane Key had six receptions for 90 yards and a touchdown for Kentucky (3-0), while Tayvion Robinson made six catches for 66 yards. Kavosiey Smoke rushed for 60 yards and a score on 18 carries.

Demeatric Crenshaw completed just 7 of 21 passes for 120 yards and an interception for the overmatched Penguins (2-1).

After mustering just one first down and 54 yards in the first 30 minutes, the Penguins finished the game with 192 total yards compared to 480 for Kentucky. Youngstown State finished 0-for-10 on third-down conversions.

It was the Wildcats’ first shutout since a 42-0 win over Miami-Ohio on Sept. 5, 2009.

The Penguins’ best chance to score came midway into the third quarter. They drove to the 2-yard line before Crenshaw was intercepted in the end zone by Carrington Valentine.

Kentucky took a 7-0 lead early in the second quarter after Levis’ 1-yard run capped an eight-play, 35-yard drive that was set up Robinson’s 15-yard return following Patty Lynch’s 43-yard punt.

The Wildcats doubled their lead on their next possession. Levis punctuated an eight-play, 77-yard drive with a 3-yard scoring strike from Levis to Key with 6:10 left in the second quarter.

The Wildcats took a commanding lead on their final drive of the first half. Levis needed just 94 seconds to march 71 yards in nine plays for a 21-0 advantage when he threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Chris Lewis with just 20 seconds before halftime.

Kentucky pushed the lead to 28-0 on Smoke’s 7-yard touchdown run with 8:36 left in the third quarter.

Matt Ruffolo’s field goal with 4:54 remaining provided the final margin.

–Field Level Media