Rafael Little rushed for a career-high 104 yards and returned a fourth-quarter kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown, helping Kentucky avoid a potentially embarrassing defeat and win 41-29 over Division I-AA Idaho State on Saturday night in Lexington, Ky.
The Bengals (1-1) led 16-14 at halftime, and 29-28 with 5:06 left after a 26-yard blocked punt return for a touchdown by Sterling Mennear.
Little, a sophomore running back with only three previous career kickoff returns, took the ensuing kick back for the decisive score. It was the first kickoff return for a touchdown by Kentucky (1-1) since November 2002, when Derek Abney did it, and the fourth-longest return in school history.
Kentucky cornerback Shomari Moore intercepted Idaho State quarterback Matt Hagler with 3:44 left, and the Wildcats sealed the win on tailback Arliss Beach’s third touchdown of the game, a 2-yard run with 1:18 left.
Hagler completed 25 of 37 passes for a career-high 291 yards and rushed for two touchdowns but also threw four interceptions, two in the final 3:44 as the Bengals – who outgained Kentucky 448 yards to 310 – tried to rally.
Hagler’s 1-yard run on the final play of the first half put the Bengals ahead 16-14. Kentucky led 28-16 in the fourth quarter when Hagler capped an 80-yard touchdown drive with a 3-yard run, pulling Idaho State within 28-23 with 6:54 left.
Kentucky went three-and-out, and Shedrack Okoebor blocked the punt by the Wildcats’ Tim Masthay. Mennear scooped up the loose football and rumbled into the end zone.
Cal Poly SLO 37, Sacramento St. 7
Cal Poly cornerback Courtney Brown had two third-quarter interceptions lead to touchdowns as the Mustangs (1-1) defeated the Hornets (0-2) in San Luis Obispo, Calif.
Brown’s first interception set up a 38-yard touchdown pass from Anthony Garnett to Ramses Barden three plays later. Brown, who missed 10 games last season because of a knee injury, made another pick on the Hornets’ second series of the half to set up a 9-yard touchdown run by Cal Poly fullback Adam Martinez.
Cal Poly quarterback Anthony Garnett passed for 210 yards and a touchdown. He added a 1-yard touchdown run that made it 30-7 in the fourth quarter.
Cal Poly rolled up 398 yards of total offense to 238 yards by Sacramento State.
James Noble led the Mustangs’ attack, rushing for 108 yards and a 24-yard touchdown in the first quarter.
Montana St. 42, Stephen F. Austin 6
Travis Lulay passed for 202 yards and four touchdowns and ran for 106 yards as the Bobcats (1-1) whipped the Lumberjacks (1-1) in Bozeman, Mont.
Lulay hit Chaz Guinn and Tramaine Murray with two TD passes each and kicker Jeff Hastings added three fourth-quarter field goals. The Bobcats, ranked 16th in NCAA Division I-AA, held the Lumberjacks to a pair of field goals by Cory Long.
SFA scored first on a 23-yard field goal by Long midway through the first quarter, but the Bobcats answered with a 6-yard TD pass from Lulay to Guinn with 5:07 remaining.
Hawaii transfer Michael Bass, who rushed 21 times for 81 yards, scored on a 2-yard run early in the second quarter for Montana State.
Portland St 14, UC Davis 12
Wide receiver Brendan Ferrigno caught five passes for 99 yards and one touchdown to help the Vikings (1-1) edge the Aggies (0-2) in Davis, Calif.
Quarterback Sawyer Smith was 19 for 32 for 221 yards for the Vikings, who have beaten UC Davis six straight times. Tony Kays caught 15 passes for 165 yards and one TD for the Aggies, who have lost at home for the second consecutive week.
The Vikings sacked Jon Grant three times for 21 negative yards, giving UC Davis a total of six-minus rushing yards in the first half.
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