Over the coming weeks, we’ll look back at the best plays from the 2017 season. Finding ten great ones used to be tough, because the Cats weren’t making enough jaw-droppers. This year it was difficult because there were so many. See which ones made the cut, starting with No. 10.
Kentucky’s Blitz Bros exploded onto the scene in the season opener at Southern Miss.
As the UK offense struggled in their first drives of the season, held to just 254 total yards, the defense picked up the slack. The Wildcats recovered three fumbles and turned them into points.
The most impressive defensive play of the game turned out to be the game-winning score. A blitzing Darius West caught Southern Miss quarterback Kwadre Griggs by surprise out of the read option. Returning from injury after more than a year on the sideline, West put his head in the perfect position — right on the football. The ball squirted free for Denzil Ware to scoop it and run 20 yards for the score.
Ware was named SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week after he recorded 2 tackles, a tackle for loss, a sack, a forced fumble and 2 fumble recoveries. His Blitz Bro Josh Allen added a 5 tackles, 3 for loss, a sack, a forced fumble and a quarterback hurry. The group’s newcomer, Josh “Blitz Baby” Paschal, only made one play to get into the box score, but his massive hit at the goal line should have been worth much more.
Kentucky’s defense started the season on the right foot by shutting down C-USA’s No. 3 offense on their home field. Even though inconsistencies kept the Cats from becoming a shut down defense, they were good enough to carry Kentucky to two tough road wins in 2017.