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Kentucky wins, Max Smith is undefeated


matt-roark

Start buying up those #11 UK football jerseys, my friends. The Max Smith era is officially underway and he’s undefeated as quarterback for your Kentucky Wildcats. In his first career start, Smith and the Wildcats defeated the Rebels 30-13 on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon in Lexington. Ole Miss came out and grabbed an early lead but Kentucky put 20 points on the board in the final quarter to get the W. It was Kentucky’s 14th come-from-behind victory in 66 games.

Let’s talk about it…

— The Max Smith era got off to a good start Saturday night. The freshman quarterback completed 19-of-36 passes for 283 yards and two touchdowns in his first career start for the Wildcats. Those numbers are impressive, but what’s even more impressive is that he just looks like a quarterback out there. He throws a tight ball on short routes and hits his receivers right in the numbers. He shows touch on the deep ball (even though he overthrew a few guys) when Morgan Newton’s deep passes always looked more like desperation heaves. Plus he stands in the pocket under pressure to make the throw, rather than bailing on the play early and scrambling around. I’m not ready to crown him yet but there is a lot of potential there.

— Smith’s big game under center means Morgan Newton’s reign as UK’s starting quarterback is likely over. The offense looks much better with Smith at the helm and it showed on the scoreboard. The Cats have only scored 30+ points in two games this season: Saturday against Ole Miss and last week against Mississippi State. Both of those were Max Smith games. The difference in the offense under the two quarterbacks is night and day. Kentucky is more of a pass-first offense with Smith as opposed to the run, run, run offense with Newton. Newton averaged 23 pass attempts in the first six game to Smith’s 35 in the last two. Part of that is the two different quarterback styles — and maybe the lack of depth at running back — but a lot of it could be attributed to the staff’s confidence in him making the throws.

— One person who is cashing in on Max Smith at quarterback is Matt Roark. Roark caught seven passes and matched his total from last week with 116 yards. In praise of his receiver’s turnaround, Joker joked that Roark dropped seven passes in one game earlier in the season. That might actually be accurate. Now, Roark is looking like an All-SEC receiver with 20 catches in the last two games. He only caught five passes in the first six games of the season. I think he likes his new quarterback.

— Montana to Rice… Aikman to Irvin… Couch to Yeast… Smith to Roark?

— Is it possible that Morgan Newton is partly responsible for all of the dropped passes throughout the season? Just a thought. The receivers are catching everything Smith throws at them. Think about it and get back to me.

— It wasn’t all air attack in Kentucky’s win, the ground game showed up to play as well. Junior running back Coshik Williams ran for 111 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries. The offensive line created holes for their back and he took advantage of them. ‘Shik was hitting holes, breaking tackles, and “running downhill” as the analysts say. The way he was running just gave everyone the feel that he could break one off and be gone at anytime. It’ll be interesting to see if this keeps up for the rest of the season because Ole Miss’ run defense, well, it sucks. I don’t know how else to put it.

— Kentucky’s defense, on the other hand, played great. There were a few hiccups throughout the game but Rick Minter’s guys stepped up when it mattered most. They stopped Ole Miss on two 4th and short situations and holding the Rebels to six points on the first two possessions could be considered the game changer. Ole Miss drove the ball deep into Kentucky territory twice in the first quarter, only to come away with a field goal each time. That put Kentucky in an early 6-0 hole when it could’ve easily been a 14-point deficit instead. Take away a few huge plays from Ole Miss and you can call it a dominating performance from everyone in blue.

Danny Trevathan had 17 tackles and an interception. These aren’t even “outstanding performances” anymore — it’s just “normal”.

— The Cats can thank the Ole Miss offensive line for helping out in the win. They gave up 25 yards on a false start and two holding calls in one drive when Ole Miss was looking to tie or take the lead in the 4th quarter. The Rebels were down three with the ball and a first down in UK territory but the big fellas up front kept drawing the yellow flags. We appreciate ya. Ole Miss committed 11 penalties in the game. Again, we appreciate ya.

A few quick-hitters before we disperse:

– Kentucky’s 10-6 lead at the half was the first halftime lead in an SEC game under Joker Phillips. He’s turning it around!

Ryan Tydlacka will be punting for an NFL team soon. The kid gets it done every single week.

– It’s good to see Mark Crawford out there making big plays. It has been a long road for the defensive tackle.

– The crowd was pathetic. The official number is 56,882 but that sounds pretty generous. I will say that the people who were at the game were very energetic throughout.

Craig McIntosh is human. It’s hard to believe, I know.

Next, the Cats go to Nashville for a game against the not-so-terrible Commodores. The bowl hopes are still alive and a win against Vandy puts it all on the line against Tennessee. Don’t look now but UK football is exciting again.

Rashawn will be by later tonight with quotes from the presser.

Go Cats, everybody.

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

53 responses to “Kentucky wins, Max Smith is undefeated”

  1. superfan

    Joker has himself a Quarterback!!! Maxwelllllllllllllll Smith!!!

  2. Outofmymind

    Smith looked good, no doubt about it. Joker gave Newton plenty of time, but now he needs to move on with what seems to be working and build on it.

  3. mark

    we played Miss State last week, not Jacksonville state

  4. bmac

    If Joker’s job would have been in jeopardy for any reason, it should have been for going this far into the season without recognizing that his best QB was sitting on the bench the whole time.

  5. Charlie Strong

    Glad he is back. Should be an easy win next year.

  6. ooh billy, billy -  this is a big one!

    4 – you said it man…told my wife the same thing this afternoon…JP should have his arse kicked for riding in the wrong direction…I know very little about football….but I know that MS looks like a quarterback in the pocket and throws a ball that has a tight spin…catchable. NM ALWAYS looked out of place

  7. john4uk

    After watching Max Smith the last two weeks,you have to wonder how big that UK playbook is.With him in the game the complexion of this team has completely changed.It’s just great seeing a true quarterback on the field again.

  8. Steve Fitts

    UK’s path to a bowl game is very clear. We’re not going to beat Georgia in Athens. We have to sweep the 2 Tennessee schools–Vandy in Nashville and Tennessee in Lexington–and we’re in!

  9. Realist

    Gotta be the touch. The last couple weeks the receivers have been making tough catches… They couldn’t make easy one before. I assume that Newton was doing the best he could, but sometimes you have to step aside and do whats best for the team.

  10. Mark Liptak

    Hooray!!!!!!!!!!!!!!They aren’t the worst team in the SEC anymore…just the next to worst.

    Mark Liptak

  11. Realist

    #5 Hey Charlie, KY is not sweating you or your team. They need to be preparing for the people they want as rivals – Tennessee and Fla. Quick question…. In two years, what conference will you be in? You probably need to worry about that!

  12. Dave in Kabul

    Joker didn’t turn jack sh!t around. Fate did it for him. If Newton had not been injured, he’d still be the QB and UK would have lost this game.

    Joker still needs to go.

  13. TT

    I listened to post-game show and heard Joker giving his support to Max Smith. I relly think Smith has saved Joker’s job and think UK has a qb will win a bowl and also end the drought against Tenn. this year. Who would’ve thought this next week!!

  14. scott

    Makes you wonder how big of an idiot Joker Philips really is if he insisted for this long that Newton is better than Smith. Only a blind man could not see Smith is better.

  15. BigBlueSkyDog

    Maxwell Smith just up and took this job. Newton was probably too busy admiring his press clippings from high school. The play of the game for me was when Smith threw that 55 yard bomb to King with two minutes left. Smith, unlike his coach, has the b@lls of an 800 pound gorilla. He’s exactly the quarterback we need.

  16. echo 1

    You know things are bad when you fear Vandy football.

  17. SexnNursinHomes

    good point Franklin, no wonder the receivers couldn’t catch Newton’s passes early on, they’re GD hands were numb in pain.

  18. Cosmic Wrangler

    A good coach would have been playing the better qb and the difference between these two is night and day. Joker still sucks.

  19. Breaking News

    Beating Ole Miss is like being king of the dipsh@ts.

  20. Crackerhillbilly

    No doubt Max throws the more catchble ball and throws it where it can be caught, but the real difference is the confidence he instills that a real QB is back there. Note to O-Line – keep the bad guys off this guy!!! Sorry Morgan, you are a Cat and we are proud you wear the jersey, but it’s Max’s time now.

  21. mdwnbv

    Cats scored 16 versus Miss. St., not 30+. But did score 39 vs. J-State

  22. superfan

    Everyone is blaming Joker for not playing Maxwellllllllllll earlier. Guys he put him in the South Carolina and he had three interceptions. So Max has had chances. Max did not give up. He spent extra time after practice with Roark for the next two weeks. Let’s give the coaches some credit. They kept his confidence up. You Joker haters are not going to find anything good to comment on. They opened up the playbook today and Max delivered. It was a team effort. Special Teams….Offense….Defense…Coaches…True fans who showed up for the game. You Joker haters who stayed at home you are just mad cause you told your buddy or fans in your section you would not return till they fired Joker. Sell your seats :) we are glad you were not there. Less negativity in the stadium. GO CATS!!!! TRUE FANS BELIEVE!!!!

  23. Ridge Runner

    19) LMAO!!!!!

  24. PUNT PUNT

    PUNT PUNT PUNT PUNT PUNT…..we beat Ole Miss…..who cares???

  25. kyrobman

    Is it possible that the team gave up on Newton, and all the dropped balls (insert pun here)were b/c they didn’t want Newton as QB? Plus Joker may not have realized how good Smith was when he was not playing with the first team, which he did this week.

  26. 2020

    We all saw Newton throwing knuckleballs, often on the wrong side of the receivers. Why the entire coaching staff continued to blame it on the receivers… I have no idea.

  27. kyrobman

    22) You said it. I agree 100%

  28. Tydlacka's shoelace

    I really enjoyed myself in the 4th quarter.

  29. firesomebodynow...

    Fire. Tom. Leach.

  30. Korean Tacos

    Yeah, not sure how Newton ever had the starting job. Doesn’t make much sense. Of course, our 3rd string RB is playing better than the 1st and 2nd ever did, so again…

  31. #15

    Fire Joker!

  32. tsmith

    A win is a win is a win is a ……Go Cats…..

  33. tsmith

    and Matt… how do yah like my Leslie Cunty Eagles now?

  34. Bring Mike Leach to UK

    Loving the win for Max Smith and his dad and the rest of the Cats! #31 – agreed.

  35. BillyMarksIsAHorseTheif

    Newton just doesn’t throw a catch able ball. it wobbles and moves like a damn knuckleball

  36. keepinitethical

    nice photo by Clay Jackson of the Advocate-Messenger (www.amnews.com) and vaughtsviews (vaughtsviews.Om) Credit???? Or link???

  37. Maverick

    How soon we forget that Joker did something last year that no other UK coach had ever accomplished. He beat a Steve Spurrier coached team. We took last year’s national champion to the wire, and probably would have won the bowl game if it wasn’t for Mike Hartline’s immature mistake. He did that with a defense that had lost several players to the NFL. This season we are without Hartline and a future NFL star in Randall Cobb. Not easy shoes to fill, especially with a no experience at the QB position and not much more at the WR position. Every school has a down year every now and then, and we were due. Just look at Texas last year, or Florida this year. Two of the biggest programs have suffered setbacks, but do we doubt that these programs will not come back to the top? It is just hard to throw inexperienced QB’s into the game and expect immediate results. And Joker did try to play Maxwell Smith early this season on several occasions, but the results were pretty ugly. Let us give Joker a fair shake before we rush to decisions. What if we had fired Coach Brooks for one unimpressive year? Getting to the point of being competitive every year in the SEC race is a slow process. Sometimes a team might be a flash in the pan and have a good year, but then they fall right back to mediocrity. At UK, we have to rebuild because we currently don’t have the luxury of reloading. Joker is pouring his heart and soul into this program, and he deserves our support. He is a class act, doesn’t use dirty recruiting tactics, and is trying to elevate this program to the next level, which has never been done before. Don’t fault the man for giving 110% to the school we all love. Let us judge Joker by looking at his results two years from now, not from ten games (bowl game plus this year). It is only fair. Until then, we should be true fans that never wish defeat upon our team, and pick our team up instead of always putting them down.

  38. UK FANS

    We beat Ole Miss and UK is Back… Wait doesn’t Ole Miss suck

  39. Big Blue Nation

    We’ll show up and cheer when there is a reason too. This team, including the coaching staff has no desire to win. DF=FAIL!

  40. Big Blue Nation

    We’ll show up and cheer when there is a reason too. This team, including the coaching staff has no desire to win. DF=FAIL!

  41. gcat4496

    Take the victory and be happy. Typically UK, beats teams that suck. And if we can find 6 teams that suck, that means we have a chance to make a bowl game. When we lose to teams that suck then that means we really suck and become the laughing stock of the SEC and College FB. Tonight that honors belongs to Ole Miss. Since when did UK beat great teams save LSU one year.

  42. DustinUK

    2.) That’s assuming Smith was this good all along and hasn’t improved. He play up to these past two games was awful. These guys have improved and even the most cynical fan has to give the staff some credit.

  43. joe

    Ummm, Drew, you forgot about Georgia when you said “a win against Vandy puts it all on the line against Tennessee”, don’t forget about Georgia big guy.

  44. come on

    The dropped passes weren’t Newtons fault before. if the ball hits you in the hands and you drop it, it doesn’t matter who threw it… But regardless I’m glad they are being caught now.

  45. BFrey

    Since when did we score 30+ against Miss St? My scoreboard says 16.

    We finally have a good QB behind center. I’m left to wonder what life would have been like with Moss. Maybe Smith has the intangibles, but I don’t think there’s any question that Moss has more talent than a guy that has more talent than the previous guy.

  46. JoeDaddy

    I’ve been saying the whole time (this year and last) Newton is the problem. He is more concerned with that perfect form than with throwing a catchable ball. But, the real problem is Max has been on the sidelines the entire season watching Newton stink up the place. Good luck Maxwell Smith. The time is NOW.

  47. buzzard

    22 and 37 …well said. Max played great and deserves much credit; however, he did not win the game by himself. The receivers are playing much better (catching the ball) than at the be beginning of the year, and now that the O line is healthy they too are actually blocking and giving the QB time to throw and making holes for the running backs. Great game Max! Morgan, keep your head up. Most of these so called fans don’t know the first thing about football.

  48. Kyknightrider

    # 12 is Right!!!! Dumb luck has brought this small success to the joke… ukaa and the boosters have to get rid of this loser once and for all! He is not the guy to lead Uk to bigger success, not going to happen. FREE MIKE LEACH!!!!!!

  49. chris

    we only scored 28 against MSU… we scored 30+ against jacksonville state and ole miss

  50. emmerts gay

    I compare putting the same lengthy comment on two straight posts to… smelling one’s own fart.. Important that everyone hears what I think. What true gratification..

  51. Common Sense

    I’ve been a Morgan Newton person this whole time, AND I STILL AM! I’m not sold on Maxwell Smith at all, he was barely productive against Miss. St. and Ole Miss is TERRIBLE! For people that say Newton doesn’t throw a catchable ball JUST SHUT UP. McCaskill had one thrown by Smith yesterday that HIT HIM IN BETWEEN THE NUMBERS and he dropped it. The coaches run the offense the wrong way for Newton to succeed, that’s why he isn’t living up to the hype.

  52. Lexloublue2

    #51, you his mama???

  53. Lexloublue2

    #51 you his mama or daddy??