LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Freshman Randall Cobb threw for one touchdown and ran for two others in relief of Mike Hartline, and Kentucky dominated Norfolk State 38-3 Saturday in its home opener.
Kentucky (2-0), which had kept rival Louisville's offense off the scoreboard a week earlier, was looking to add some offensive power to the defensive excitement it displayed against the Cardinals. They got an immediate jolt from Cobb, a freshman who led his high school to two straight state titles in Tennessee.
Cobb entered late in the first quarter, generating a loud ovation from the sellout crowd. He immediately rewarded that confidence without even throwing a pass, burning the Spartans (1-1) with his speed.
First, he sprinted 16 yards untouched on a draw play to put Kentucky near the red zone. Then, two plays later, he called his own number again, dodging several defenders and hurdling another for an 18-yard score -- the first of Kentucky's four rushing TDs.
Cobb scored again on Kentucky's next possession, pushing away several defenders on the sneak from a yard out. He also displayed the strength of his left arm on the drive, firing a 27-yard strike to his former high school teammate, Kyrus Lanxter, putting the Wildcats in position.
Despite being outplayed by the freshman, Hartline returned in the third quarter to a spattering of boos. Alternating drives with Cobb throughout the second half, Hartline did lead scoring drives culminating in a field goal and touchdown, both starting from prime field position.
As Cobb helped revive Kentucky's passing attack, Derrick Locke did the same from the backfield. Locke broke a 19-yard run, helping to set up Cobb's first TD pass -- a 13-yard fade to Dicky Lyons Jr.
Locke topped his previous effort in the fourth quarter when he spun around one defender and sprinted past the rest for 68 yards -- the Wildcats' longest play of the season.
Kentucky, which generated only 63 yards on the ground last week against Louisville, had nearly five times that total against an overmatched opponent with 298. Locke led the way with five carries for 96 yards.
Norfolk State, playing just its second game ever against a Football Bowl Subdivision foe, got its lone points of the game shortly before halftime on a 24-yard Justin Castellat field goal, set up by a Cobb fumble.
It was one of few mistakes on the afternoon for the freshman, who completed 6 of 11 passes for 87 yards and one interception.