An After Action Review is an Army method utilized to analyze an intended action. Let’s apply a version of this process to the Kentucky vs. Mississippi State football game to determine what caused the final outcome as well as addressing the Cat’s need to sustain and improve:
WHAT WERE INTENDED RESULTS
Win the football game.
WHAT WERE ACTUAL RESULTS
Lost the football game 45-7.
WHAT CAUSED OUR RESULTS
Very little running back generated rushing attack
— Benny Snell had 7 carries for 18 yards.
— Sihiem King managed 5 rushes for 24.
— Was good to see AJ Rose: 9 carries for 30 yards.
— QB Stephen Johnson led the team with 6 carries and 54 yards.
— To be completely fair, running lanes were miniscule. RBs were given very little help.
— Mississippi State’s constant pressure and disruption significantly altered Kentucky’s running game.
Lost the Line-of-Scrimmage
— Simplistic analysis: Miss State defense racked up 3 QB sacks, 7 tackles for loss and allowed just 7-points.
— The Bulldog offense rolled up 441 total yards including 282 on the ground.
— UK defense recorded 3 tackles for loss, zero QB sacks, and gave up 45 points.
— UK managed only 260 yards of total offense.
— Miss State was largely more physical in both phases.
Ineffective 1st down offense and defense
— Far too many 2nd and long scenarios for the Wildcat offense. This came from incompletions and zero to negative gain run plays.
— Ineffective 1st down offense assisted Miss State’s defensive intent which was to pressure in sure-passing downs.
— Kentucky converted 6/14 on 3rd down (42.8%).
— Nick Fitzgerald and company gained positive yards on 1st down from both the run and pass.
— Miss State converted 12/18 on third down (66.5).
— Seemingly, Dan Mullen threw the football more on 1st down vs. UK than any other 2017 opponent. It worked.
— Fitzgerald completed 54% of his passes prior to Saturday’s matchup.
— The junior connected on 70% for 155 yards and one touchdown.
— Seven different MSU pass catchers got involved in the action.
— The Cats registered zero quarterback sacks. Fitzgerald had all day in the pocket. The Wildcats also lost containment during several scrambling situations.
— Mississippi State ran for 282 yards.
— Averaged 5.9 yards per carry.
— Scored 4 rushing touchdowns. Two of which were from 40-yards out.
WHAT WILL WE SUSTAIN–IMPROVE?
— Matt Panton averaged 45.1 yards per punt.
— True freshman Lynn Bowden becoming an offensive focal point. Threw a pass, ran the football from the Wildcat, and caught 3 passes. Bowden was also active in the return game and finished the day as the game’s leader in All Purpose Yards with 119.
— OLB Josh Allen registered 5 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, and 2 pass breakups.
— Everything else
What does all this mean?
It’s probably been said and written about a thousand times already: Kentucky’s performance coming out of a bye week was not very good. Miss State out-everything’d its visitors.
How the Cats respond to an embarrassing road loss will have tremendous implications for the 2017 season. Butch Jones could be coaching for his livelihood on Kroger Field. Kentucky is fighting for bowl eligibility and reputation restoration. Saturday could get interesting. Both programs will enter an evening of reckoning. The old football phrase, “Whichever teams wants it the most will win” could describe Saturday’s contest.