"We proved tonight it won't be a distraction," UK junior running back Alfonso Smith said. "We are well aware of Ashton's situation. Stuff happens. We are praying for him, but we have to move forward."
Before the season started, Kentucky coach Rich Brooks had to dismiss quarterback Curtis Pulley for his legal woes. For a team that went two years without any serious transgressions, the situations with Pulley and Cobb could make many wonder what has happened at UK this year.
"It's not that big an issue. It just happened with Ashton," Smith said. "It's crazy. He is a football player and a big guy. He can't make comments like he did. We are going to stand behind him as a team, but it's not going to ruin our season. We still know what we are supposed to do and how to behave."
Kentucky's Derrick Locke got to showcase all his speed late in the first half when he returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown.
It was UK's first 100-yard return since Keenan Burton's score against Louisville in 2006. The only other Kentucky players with 100-yard returns for scores are Craig Yeast, Derek Abney and Kurt Johnson.
"That's what I have been waiting on," Locke said. "I need that. Our team needed that. A score before half like that can change momentum right after they had kicked a field goal to feel like they had the momentum. To me, it totally changed the game in our favor."
Smith scored his first touchdown of the season on a career-high 35-yard run ... Kentucky's kickoff coverage was the best in the SEC going into this game but Western Kentucky's had four kickoff returns for 149 yards, including a 74-yard jaunt in the second half where he was caught from behind by Trevard Lindley ... Linebacker Michael Schwindell made the first fumble recovery of his career for UK ... True freshman receiver Aaron Boyd had three catches for 16 yards, his first receptions at UK ... Quarterback Mike Hartline's streak of passes without an interception ended at 95. ... Lyons had six catches for 34 yards and has caught at least two passes in 24 straight games ... Kentucky has held four straight opponents without a rushing touchdown, something that has not happened since 1984.