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Quarterback Jalen Whitlow's status unclear for Thursday after spraining ankle Oct. 12


Kentucky quarterback Jalen Whitlow was carried off the field after spraining his left ankle against Alabama on Oct. 12. | Photo by James Pennington

Kentucky quarterback Jalen Whitlow was carried off the field after spraining his left ankle against Alabama on Oct. 12. | Photo by James Pennington

 

Kentucky quarterback Jalen Whitlow’s status for Thursday’s game against Mississippi State is still unclear a week and a half after spraining his left ankle, Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said Monday.
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“Jalen has improved, practiced yesterday,” Stoops said Monday afternoon. “He’ll practice today. We’ll see how that goes.”

 

Maxwell Smith is still listed first on the depth chart and has been getting the starter’s repetitions in practice leading up to the Mississippi State game, Stoops said. Smith is 51-of-92 passing this season for 710 yards, five touchdowns and one interception.

 

Whitlow was named the full-time starter before the Wildcats’ game against South Carolina on Oct. 5, and he finished that game with 178 passing yards, 69 rushing yards and three total touchdowns in a 35-28 road loss. With the Wildcats’ entire offensive game plan for the following week’s game against No. 1 Alabama designed around Whitlow’s unique skill set as a mobile quarterback, Whitlow sprained his left ankle on the second series of the game.

 

Smith replaced Whitlow against the Crimson Tide, and he threw for 76 yards and a touchdown as the Wildcats were forced to improvise a new game plan against the best defense in the country.

 

Smith’s emergency backup will either be Reese Phillips or Patrick Towles, but Stoops and offensive coordinator Neal Brown have been unwilling to say which it will be. Either way, it’s been clear either will only enter the game if Smith and Whitlow are both unavailable at any given point. Neither Phillips nor Towles have played this season, and a redshirt season would be lost the first time either enters a game.

 

Kentucky plays Mississippi State at 7:30 p.m. ET on Thursday. The game will be aired on ESPN.


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