I am going to do a weekly "Film Session" article where we look at the good and the bad from the Offense, Defense, and Special Teams in our most recent game. This week, we take a look at how we faired against Mississippi State.
Going in to the week, the BBN Chalk Talk guys noted a few things in our Thursday Walk Thru Podcast that the Cats had to get done in order to win this game:
Finding a Sustainable Passing Game
Stay on track with your game plan
Be hungry and fight for the win
While two of these 3 were true, in the end the Cats took home the victory. Let's take a look at why:
With a win today, UK has tied or improved its record every season since Mark Stoops became head
coach in 2013.
UK won two games in 2012, the season before Stoops arrived, followed by two wins in 2013,
five in 2014 and ’15, and seven in 2016, ’17 and ’18.
UK is 7-1, the best start of a season since the 1977 team went 10-1.
UK is 5-1 in the SEC, clinching the first winning league record since the 1977 team went 6-0.
UK has 13 SEC wins over the last three seasons, tying the school record for most conference victories
over a three-year period, as the 1976-78 teams also won 13 SEC games.
UK is 16-6 in its last 22 regular-season games, best 22-game regular-season stretch since Nov. 13,
1976 to Nov. 11, 1978 (15-5-1).
UK is 12-7 in its last 19 SEC games, the best 19-game stretch since Nov. 20, 1976 to Nov. 24, 1979 (12-
Mark Stoops has 33 wins at Kentucky, moving past Harry Gamage (1927-33) for sixth place in school
Terry Wilson and his passing attack. My bold prediction for this game was that Terry would have his UK career-high in passing and Terry did just that. He smashed his previous passing high (163 vs. Murray St) by going 22 of 31 for 267 yds and showed his true ability in the last 2 minutes of this game, ending in a game winning TD pass to CJ Conrad in an extra play with no time on the clock.
Lynn Bowden and his monstrous career-day setting career highs with both 13 receptions and 166 yards. Not to mention the self-called punt return for a TD late in the 4th Quarter to put the Cats right back in the game. Lynn ended with 229 all-purpose yards and caught every single pass that was thrown his way.
This is the eighth time under Coach Mark Stoops that UK has trailed by at least 10 points in a game and rallied to win.
UK threw for a season-high 294 passing yards today between 2 QBs.
The play calling. Here on BBNCT, we usually agree on most things, but this topic has been a debatable one for the 3 of us. Max and I both agree that something is going on with the play calling and game plan, while Greg thinks it is all a part of the grand scheme. I can give you my opinion, which is, this coaching staff lost their way after Texas A&M blew up everything they had been working on this season. The run game since has been borderline non-existent when you compare it to the first half of the season. I believe that we should have never put Hoak or Clark in this game vs. Missouri and by doing so, it showed me one thing - this coaching staff is playing a game plan too tightly and not playing the game itself. What I mean by that is when Terry is doing well, you keep him in. Play the game itself and how it is going, then make in-game adjustments if needed. This game seemed like they had a plan and were forcing it when they didn't need to. I understand that putting Danny in on the 2nd drive of the 1st half and putting Gunnar in on the 2 drive of the 2nd half is probably the best time to do it if you're going to, but it sure looks like it wasted about 4 of our drives. Hopefully this gets fixed and we get back to the basics and ways of this offense. Run the RPO, run the read option, spread the formations out to loosen the box - all things we did great at the beginning of this season.
Benny did not have a great game rushing only 19 times for 67 yards. You could also see the frustration visibly by the way Benny carried himself on the sidelines and even drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty by shaking his finger in the refs face. A leader doesn't do things like that - he finds ways to pick himself and his team up and then go win the ball game.
On a high note for Benny, he now has 3,359 career rushing yards, moving past Moe Williams (3,333 from 1993-95) for second place in UK history.
3rd down conversion - UK went 3 for 14 (21%) on the game. The Cats went 0/10 to start the game. The offense also went 0 for 3 on 4th down conversions. Unacceptable.
The defense continues to dominate this league! Check out some of these stats:
UK limited Missouri to 249 yards today. The Wildcats have kept all eight opponents this season under 400 yards.
UK has allowed 20 points or less in all eight games this season, first time since 1950 that UK has begun a season by holding eight straight opponents to 20 or less.
After trailing 14-3 at halftime, the Kentucky defense got eight straight three-and-outs in the second half, not allowing a single first down after intermission.
UK is tied with Clemson as #1 in the country for scoring defense, allowing only 13 points per game
Jordan Jones quietly had a season-high 10 tackles, his sixth double-digit figure tackle game of his career.
Darius West blocked a field-goal attempt in the first quarter, the first blocked kick of his career and UK’s first blocked kick of the season. He also had eight tackles and a pass breakup.
Josh Allen led the Wildcats with 11 tackles, including a pair of quarterback sacks, both of which caused fumbles.
With 10 sacks on the season, it is the most for a Wildcat since Dean Wells had 10 sacks in 1992 and is tied for the third-most in a season.
Now has 24.5 career sacks, moving past Bud Dupree for second in UK history.
The defense held Missouri to 5 of 16 on 3rd down conversions and had the Tigers go 0 for 8 in the second half. This defense shut down a high-powered offense that averages over 30 points a game and over 400 yards of offense.
Penalties. While there were only 5 penalties as a team, the defense had some crucial penalties in the beginning of this game that allowed Missouri it's scores. Next week will call for a clean game in order to win!
The slow start - no pass rush on Drew Lock and DBs getting beat. I honestly thought this was going to get ugly quick, but like great defenses do, they figured out a way to shut the Mizzou offense down.
Freshman kicker Chance Poore saw his first collegiate action. He made a 31-yard field goal on the game’s opening drive. It was his only kick of the game. With this being Chance's first playing time of the season, given the new redshirt rule, there is chance that Poore could still play 3 other games this season and still redshirt which would be HUGE for this team.
As mentioned before, the blocked FG by Darius West and the runt return by Lynn Bowden were enormous in more than one way and were the other highlights of this game.
The punting was not that great. The poor special teams play got overshadowed by the three big plays mentioned above, but the rugby-style kick wasn't working as well and not allowing the Cats to flip the field. The great thing about the rugby punt is you can control it and buy some extra time for minimal returns, but the downfall is that you don't get the distance you would always like.
Max Godby's Unsung Hero Award
Coach Lile's Big Man of the Week Award
Matt Smith's Play of the Game
Lynn Bowden's punt return for a TD. This play put the Cats back in the game and gave them a shot to win.
The Cats next game will be for the SEC EAST CHAMPIONSHIP on Saturday, Nov. 3 vs. Georgia at 3:30pm. You can watch the game on CBS.
Where to Find Us
Catch the BBNCT guys on their radio show, Sundays from noon-1:00pm on News Talk WVLK 590AM and 97.3 FM.
Every Monday (sometimes Tuesdays), we will post our radio show as a podcast and will post our podcast BBNCT - The OT where we recap the game, give updates on other sports, and talk about the fattest thing we did that week. You can check it out on BlogTalk Radio at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/bbnchalktalk
Lastly, every Thursday, we will post our Thursday Walk-Thru to give you a little "Appetizer" for what to expect in the upcoming game. You find that on our BlogTalk Radio link above, as well.