It has been an unprecedented start to the college football season in the Bluegrass State. For the first time ever, both Louisville and Kentucky enter Week 5 at 4-0, though neither has cracked the polls yet.
It’s good timing for interest in college football to peak in the state now that Kentucky sports betting apps are legal. Online wagering on sports launched on Thursday.
Notably, both Power 5 programs plucked new starting quarterbacks from the transfer portal this offseason and both have proven instrumental to each team’s success. California transfer Jack Plummer leads a Louisville offense that has put up 43 points per game. Former North Carolina State signal caller Devin Leary paces a Kentucky squad averaging 38 points per game. Both squads are in the nation’s top 25 for scoring.
With dozens of other FBS schools also turning to new transfer quarterbacks this season, BetKentucky.com looks at how the numbers for Plummer and Leary compare to the rest of the portal crop. Here is how their statistics rank against the 35 other transfer quarterbacks that have attempted at least 75 passes for a new team through the first third of the 2023 regular season.
Included are passing yards, passing touchdowns, completion percentage and passer rating, with their rank among the 37 FBS transfer QBs with at least 75 pass attempts in parentheses.
Plummer & Leary Vs. Other Transfer QBs
Jack Plummer Gets Going Quickly For Cards
With Kentucky sports betting more widely available, let’s look at how Jack Plummer is faring with Louisville.
After a year in Berkeley, Jack Plummer’s decision to reunite with new Louisville head coach Jeff Brohm is delivering explosive results for the Cardinals. Plummer spent four seasons at Purdue under Brohm, redshirting in 2018 before throwing for 3,405 yards and 26 touchdowns in 21 games for the Boilermakers from 2019 to 2021. Plummer has taken his game to another level as a sixth-year senior following a year as the starter at Cal.
With Louisville unbeaten through four weeks, the Cardinals have +850 odds to win the ACC at Caesars Kentucky Sportsbook.
He's tied for 25th in attempts among all new transfer quarterbacks with just 97 passes through Louisville’s first four contests, but Plummer has already tossed for 1,120 yards, seventh most of any quarterback poached from the portal in the offseason. Colorado’s Shedeur Sanders, Georgia Southern’s Davis Brin, Rice’s JT Daniels, Notre Dame’s Sam Hartman, Fresno State’s Mikey Keene and Georgia Tech’s Haynes King are the only new transfers to throw for more yards, and each of them has attempted at least 18 more passes than Plummer.
At 11.5 yards per attempt, Plummer not only leads all new transfers in the category, but ranks third overall nationally, behind Heisman co-favorites Caleb Williams of USC and Michael Penix Jr. of Washington (both who currently sit at +380 to win the award at FanDuel Kentucky Sportsbook). Additionally, though Plummer ranks second to Hartman among new transfers in passer rating, his 189.8 rating stands seventh in the country and over 50 points above his career average prior to 2023.
Leary Off To Fast Start With Wildcats
Meanwhile in Lexington, Devin Leary has provided a spark to a Kentucky offense that finished last season 112th nationally in scoring. Though his accuracy and decision making have appeared questionable at times as evidenced by his sub 60 percent completion rate and five interceptions, Leary has added a big play element to the Wildcats passing attack that was lacking for most of last year.
BetMGM Kentucky Sportsbook lists the Wildcats with +3000 odds to win the SEC title.
Five of Leary’s nine passing touchdowns this season have come on plays of 20 yards or more, the same number of 20-plus-yard touchdown passes as Kentucky produced in 13 games in 2022. He’s tied for seventh among new transfers in total TD passes, behind only Hartman, Keene, Daniels, Sanders, King and Plummer.
Leary has yet to replicate the form he showed during his best season with N.C. State, when he threw for 3,433 yards with a 35-to-5 touchdown to interception ratio in 2021, but he is still above his career averages in several key categories this year. His 8.6 yards per attempt with the Wildcats is 1.4 more than he averaged with the Wolfpack and his passer rating of 147.8 is 8.8 points above his mark from his time in Raleigh.
This Saturday, UK hosts Florida in an SEC East showdown; DraftKings Kentucky Sportsbook lists the Wildcats as 1.5-point favorites as of Friday afternoon.
Whether Plummer and Leary can maintain their present level of play as both teams’ strength of schedule picks up will go a long way in determining the ceiling of their respective programs this season. Louisville gets set to take on N.C. State on the road tonight. Kentucky begins a stretch of four straight games against teams currently ranked in the Associated Press top 25 with that noon kickoff against the No. 22 Gators.
Plummer and the Cardinals will meet Leary and the Wildcats for the Governor’s Cup in the final game of the regular season, Nov. 25 in Louisville. In the meantime, you can get the best Kentucky betting promos here at BetKentucky.com.