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. Missouri football game to determine what caused the final outcome as well as addressing the Cats’ need to sustain and improve:
WHAT WERE INTENDED RESULTS
Win the football game.
WHAT WERE ACTUAL RESULTS
Won the football game 40-34.
WHAT CAUSED OUR RESULTS
Opportunistic Special Teams
— LB Kash Daniel executed a fake punt for a first down.
— CB Lonnie Johnson blocked a Missouri field goal.
— Kicker Austin MacGinnis was perfect on the night: 4/4 FGs, 4/4 PATs, and kicked 5 kickoffs resulted in touchbacks.
— MacGinnis’ touchback kickoff with 1:48 remaining in the game was critical.
— Lynn Bowden recorded a 35-yard kickoff return.
Redshirt Freshman Offensive Linemen
— Center Drake Jackson surfaced in the lineup and didn’t relinquish snapping duties. He more than held his own against a good Missouri defensive line.
— Guard Luke Fortner’s block was key in Benny Snell’s 71-yard touchdown run and played at a high level.
Fourteen Passing First Downs
— UK moved the chains through the air on 14 occasions compared to just 7 on the ground. This is the identity of the 2017 Wildcats.
— Steady quarterback play and the re-emergence of Blake Bone to go with a vastly improved receiving corps greatly factor.
— WR Garrett Johnson remains Stephen Johnson’s primary target on 3rd down.
Allowing Explosive Passing Touchdowns
— Missouri had touchdown passes that covered 58, 75, and 50 yards. QB Drew Lock threw for 172 yards in his other 19 completions.
— Long, touchdown passes have developed into a trend which is concerning with several highly ranked quarterbacks and receivers in the back half of the schedule.
Defensive Back Tackling on the Game’s Final Drive
— Efficient tackling and kept pass catchers in bounds which continued the game/play clock.
— CB Lonnie Johnson-3 tackles.
— CB Derrick Baity-2 tackles.
— S Mike Edwards-1 tackle.
WHAT WILL WE SUSTAIN–IMPROVE?
Kicker Austin MacGinnis
— The senior kicker was clutch on Saturday to include a 53-yarder. He also became the program’s leading scorer. MacGinnis is an All-Timer.
Total Offensive Yards and Balance
— The Cats totaled 486-yards off 76 plays.
— Eddie Gran called 39 running plays (51.3%) and 37 passes (48.6%).
Offensive Explosive Plays/Receivers
— Benny Snell 71-yard touchdown run.
— Garrett Johnson 64-yard reception.
— Lynn Bowden 22-yard run after catch.
— Tavin Richardson 27-yard receptions
— Blake Bone 14-yard touchdown catch.
— UK receivers have improved on a weekly basis. Coach Lamar Thomas is to be credited with player development. The 2017 group is collectively better than it was a year ago.
Quarterback Stephen Johnson
— Passing: 22/36 (61%), 298, 2 TDs, 1 INT. Rushing: 11 carries, 44-yards.
— Season results: Johnson has accounted for 1382-total yards (65.9%) of total offense and 11 out of UK’s 18 touchdowns (61.1%).
Benny’s 100 and 2
— Benny Snell surpassed the century mark for the eighth time in his career with 117 yards off 20 carries.
— His night included 2 touchdowns. One was a Red-Zone run play with Stephen Johnson under center. Snell appeared comfortable in that formation.
Linebackers Courtney Love and Josh Allen
— Love racked up 10 tackles and 1 fumble recovery. The senior leader is playing like a senior leader.
— Mizzou effectively schemed for Josh Allen. But the junior still managed 5 total tackles, 1 QB sack, 1 TFL, and a Forced Fumble.
— Surrendered 355-passing yards to include touchdowns of 50, 58, and 75 yards.
— Safety support was not timely or accurate in support of cornerbacks in 2/3 long scores.
— Cornerback injuries factored. Developing depth at that position critical.
— Credit Missouri for game planning UK’s pass rushers out of the equation.
— Kentucky entered the game 3rd in the nation allowing 74 rush yards per game. Mizzou had 33 carries for 213-yards.
— UK’s defensive line strength lies within its numbers (9-10 rotate in 3 positions). Tempo denied the Wildcat defensive line from its normal rotation.
— 39 carries, 188 yards, 2 touchdowns appear to be a positive. However, 71 came on a Benny Snell scoring run.
— Kentucky averaged 4.8 yards per carry.
— Play action passing is more productive when a run game is established. Offensive line continuity could help going forward.
— A third running back needs to surface. Going with just two (Snell and King) is a dangerous proposition.
— Cats settled for field goals on three Red-Zone trips.
— 11/20 Red-Zone possessions have resulted in a touchdown through six games (55%).
Short Yardage Offense
— 8/17 on 3rd down (47%) but an excessive number of unsuccessful attempts were in short yardage situations. This especially applied in the Red-Zone.
— Kentucky is converting 39.53% on 3rd down for the season.
Delivering Knockout Punch
— Missouri was willing to surrender on two occasions when the Cats were up 13-0 and 20-7.
— Up 13-0: 50-yard touchdown pass from Drew Lock to J’Mon Moore.
— Leading 20-7: 58-yard touchdown pass from Drew Lock to Emanuel Hall with :40 remaining in 2nd quarter.
— Momentum shifted after both plays. The latter propelled the Tigers into the second half.
What does all this mean?
Kentucky is 5-1 and several teams are not. Saturday was a win and advance scenario as the Cats entered the game battered and fatigued from playing five close games. Mizzou traveled to Kroger Field fresh off a bye week, healed up, and seeking to right the ship. UK sustained the Tigers’ best punch and found a way to win. Bye week focus: Heal up, clean up, and develop a running game.