Kentucky routs Charlotte 58-10
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Jojo Kemp rushed for three touchdowns, Boom Williams ran for two and Kentucky rolled up 544 yards in a 58-10 blowout of Charlotte Saturday night that ended a five-game losing streak.
Kemp broke TD runs of 6, 18, and 47 yards, Williams scored from 20 and 53 yards and Sihiem King added a 62-yarder as Kentucky (5-6) rushed for 415 yards, fourth most in school history.
Mike Edwards returned an interception 20 yards for another Wildcats score that handed the 49ers (2-9) their ninth straight loss.
Redshirt freshman Drew Barker added 129 yards passing in his first career start for Kentucky, which earned the first of two wins needed to reach the threshold for bowl eligibility. The Wildcats' defense held Charlotte to just 233 yards, recorded four sacks and forced three turnovers.
Miles Butler kicked field goals of 21, 46 and 32 yards for Kentucky.
Kentucky registered 50 points for the first time since August 2014 against UT Martin.
One skid was bound to end with 13 combined consecutive losses between the schools coming in. Charlotte's growing pains were somewhat expected considering it's a first-year FBS member, but the Wildcats' slump was putting them on the cusp of missing the postseason for a fifth straight season.
Next week's finale against in-state rival Louisville will determine whether Kentucky becomes bowl eligible, but the priority was getting past the 49ers first.
The Wildcats succeeded behind a powerful ground game led by Kemp and Williams, who rushed for 165 and 140 yards respectively. That gave Kentucky its first pair of 100-yard rushers in a game since Randall Cobb and Derrick Locke in November 2010.
Barker was 16 of 29 passing in his first start for the Wildcats in place of junior Patrick Towles. His first offensive series wasn't encouraging as the drive mostly went backwards, but he quickly recovered to direct four straight scoring drives, including two ending with Kemp TD runs.
Kentucky built a 20-3 halftime lead that soon exploded into a rout thanks to its running backs and an opportunistic defense that forced two turnovers leading to 10 points and Edwards' interception return.
Blake Brewer's 23-yard field goal in the second quarter and Zach Bumgarner's 3-yard TD pass from Brooks Barton late in the game were Charlotte's only highlights on an otherwise frustrating night against its Power 5 conference opponent.
The Wildcats conversely had many moments to remember after five straight losses they wanted desperately to forget.