University of Kentucky sophomore quarterbacks Maxwell Smith and Jalen Whitlow, along with junior defensive end Za’Darius Smith, were honored Sunday for their performance in Kentucky’s 41-7 victory over Miami (Ohio).
Maxwell Smith and Whitlow were given Southeastern Conference “helmet stickers” from ESPN.com for putting up solid numbers in UK’s impressive offensive showing Saturday. Smith completed 15-of-23 passes for 310 yards and three touchdowns, while Whitlow was 10-for-12 for 103 yards while rushing seven times for 48 yards and a score. It was the first time two UK quarterbacks threw for 100 yards in the same game since Jared Lorenzen and Shane Boyd accomplished the feat in 2001.
The Wildcats totaled 675 yards of total offense in the game, the third-most total offense in program history, including 413 passing yards, the most since 2007 vs. Tennessee. All three of Smith’s touchdown passes in the game were for 48-plus yards, marking the first time a UK quarterback has achieved that since Tim Couch vs. Louisville in 1998. Smith’s longest touchdown pass was for 88 yards to junior Javess Blue, which was the fourth-longest pass play in school history and the longest since 2000.
Za’Darius Smith was named the SEC Defensive Player of the Week by CollegeSportsMadness.com. Smith, who started his UK career with five tackles and a sack against WKU, was a dominating presence for UK defensively in the home opener against Miami. The junior college transfer had six tackles and three sacks in the game, becoming the first UK player since Deion Holts in 2003 to record three or more sacks.
Smith also had a quarterback hurry against the RedHawks and helped the UK defense limit Miami to no offensive points and only 122 yards of total offense, which is the fourth-lowest offensive output for a UK opponent in the last 25 years.
Kentucky will return to the practice fields Monday afternoon to begin its preparation for an in-state battle with No. 7/7 Louisville on Saturday at Noon ET at Commonwealth Stadium.