UK quarterback Newton: Wildcats will be ‘better prepared’ for WKU

Morgan Newton/

Brad Stephens

LEXINGTON — Kentucky’s offense struggled throughout the 2011 season, and its season-opening win over WKU was no exception.

The Wildcats, thanks in large to a 9-for-27, four interception effort by Topper quarterback Kawaun Jakes, beat WKU 14-3 on Sept. 1, 2011 at L.P. Field in Nashville.

Even in the win, Kentucky gained just 190 yards, and quarterback Morgan Newton was 7-for-18 for less than 100 yards and three interceptions.

The in-state foes play for the third season in a row this year, meeting on Sept. 15 in Commonwealth Stadium.

The Wildcats will be “better prepared” for WKU this time around, Newton said on Friday at Commonwealth Stadium during Kentucky’s Football Media Day.

“Last year, that was one of our problems, that we prepared for something that (the Topper defense) didn’t really show us,” he said. “We came into the game, I thought we had a great plan.

“We didn’t see much of what we thought we were going to see. A lot of it was learning on the run and at the same time trying to figure out who we were… This year we’ll be a little bit better prepared.

“Western is a great team. I don’t know that anyone’s shocked that they played us close, or at least they shouldn’t be because they’re a great team and have some good players.”

Newton referenced WKU’s Nov. 12, 2011 loss to No. 1 LSU, a game that was close until the second half, as evidence to his belief that the Toppers are a quality opponent.

“That was a game that I saw and people don’t understand how good they were,” Newton said. “They hit hard, they play hard, they’re well coached too… They’re going to make you beat them.”

The Wildcats opened fall camp Friday. WKU’s first practice will take place on Monday.

Newton, who is coming off a shoulder injury, is competing with freshman Patrick Towles and sophomore Maxwell Smith for Kentucky’s starting job.