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Looking Ahead to Kent State

2012’s version of the Governor’s Cup battle didn’t bode well for Joker Phillips’ third edition of Kentucky Wildcats.  While there were numerous positives coming out of yesterday’s contest like a much improved passing game and more efficient rushing attack, many glaring weaknesses were easily noticeable like a high turnover rate and Rick Minter’s defense.  While the outcome of this weekend’s game against Louisville was far from desirable, chance for redemption comes this weekend.  The Kent State Golden Flashes enter Saturday’s match-up in Commonwealth Stadium as 7-point underdogs, but return 14 starters from last season’s 5-7 squad.  For Kentucky to come away with a victory, balancing their record at 1-1, some drastic improvements must be made. But will Kent State allow for an easy Wildcat victory, or will the Golden Flashes prove menacing to a Kentucky team who needs an opponent for confidence building?


The first area of concern that must be addressed, without question, is the Wildcat defense, or lack there of.  Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater, for lack of a better phrase, absolutely gashed Kentucky’s secondary throughout the course of yesterday’s game, completing 90.5% (19/21) of his passes while throwing for 11.0 yards per attempt.  Part of this was due to his undeniable skill set, but a good portion of those high numbers came from Kentucky’s inexperienced Linebackers and Secondary.  Kent State brings a very experienced Senior Quarterback, Spencer Keith, into Commonwealth Stadium on Saturday, but fortunately for our Secondary he’s not very talented.  And when I say not very talented, he’s literally gotten worse as his career progressed.  As a Freshman, Keith averaged 7.3 yards per passing attempt, but it’s dropped every year since, 6.1 as a Sophomore, 5.2 as a Junior, and now 4.3 in one game as a Senior.  Other stats have gradually dropped too, like his passer rating and completion percentage.  In addition, the Golden Flashes only return two starting wide receivers.  Given this, Kent State appears to be an offense that will allow for Kentucky’s youthful secondary to gain valuable experience while not facing a severe penalty.


The other main area of concern entering September 8th’s match-up is the issue of turning the ball over at a high rate.  Last season, Kent State was among the nation’s elite in forcing opponent turnovers, doing so on 18.0% of opponent possessions (12th nationally).  This season appears no different as they forced their initial opponent, Towson, into 6 turnovers on 11 possessions.  Granted Towson is terrible (as evidenced by the above video), but it appears as though their aggressive mindset on defense has translated well from the previous season.  Besides yesterday’s defensive performance, turnovers were Kentucky’s second most pressing concern, losing the ball twice in 11 total possessions (18.2%). While there’s no need to lecture on the importance of keeping the ball, Kentucky’s turnovers were especially costly as they occurred deep in Cardinal territory, costing the Wildcats numerous points and field position. For a Wildcat victory, limiting fumbles and interceptions will be key.  With Maxwell Smith’s maturation, mainly his ability to efficiently move the ball down field without tossing picks, half of that concern is seemingly addressed, but will our running backs be able to maintain possession?


Kent State will certainly present some challenges to Kentucky come Saturday, mainly their ability to force mistakes on defense. But they do bring an exceptionally weak passing game to Lexington which is just what the doctor ordered for our incredibly inexperienced Secondary.  If Kentucky is able to keep the Golden Flashes around their normal passing numbers while limiting mistakes on offense, it should be a golden outcome for the Wildcats (Best. Pun. Ever.).  Even if Kentucky’s offense struggles, Kent State may be helpful judging from the video above.

Article written by Jonathan Schuette

18 Comments for Looking Ahead to Kent State

  1. tdogg40330
    8:04 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    UK in a ROMP !!! this team is better than ya believe. Defense
    will make adjustments.

  2. catfan68
    8:17 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    My God, why bother? Even if we beat Kent St we will still have a horrible year. The defense couldn’t stop their own grandmothers.

  3. Paducah Fan
    8:19 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    Andre Parker returns two punts the wrong way and Kent State wins 4-0 over Kentucky this weekend.

  4. Big Boss Man
    8:21 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    How u figure that #3? Kentucky gets the safety if he runs through the endzone.

  5. tdogg40330
    8:28 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    4) why do some people even bother?? lol, if ya dont know what
    ya talkin about, don’t even talk.

  6. HackRichards
    8:30 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    Kent State by 3. UK is 0-11 this year.

  7. tdogg40330
    8:33 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    6)see post #5, if ya don’t know what ya sayin just keep shut.
    They play 12 games …..

  8. commentpolice
    8:35 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    tdogg be workin’ overtime on the police work in here!

  9. I Sat
    8:37 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    I have a $5 bet with my roommate that we lost to western

  10. tdogg40330
    8:39 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    8) lol, nahhhh. Some people run their mouth and have no clue
    what they are talkin about ….

  11. HackRichards
    8:41 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    OK asswhole # 7 0-12. Thankyou very muchhhhhhhh

  12. abelincon
    8:44 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    It is crazy how many people want to give up on the season after one game. Hopefully UK wins big, and if they do, do you all think people will start to show more support for the team/joker? #believe

  13. JPhelps
    8:45 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    Caption should say “Looking ahead, to a ban of football threads this year”…

  14. Head Bussa
    8:47 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    Who knows? Maybe we squeak one out in Lexington against mighty Kent State. Should be a battle of two real heavyweights.

  15. JPhelps
    8:49 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    12. No we just are done with the hype for nothing… Joker keeps saying, we’re better than that. No we aren’t. Period. The offense is improved, but the defense has regressed further than the O’s strides. We are a worse team than last year. If that’s believable. It’s back to the “can’t hold anyone on 3rd and Long”. We’re done. I’m so glad Joker is gone after this year! My boycott of UK football is already on. Won’t watch another game. Bring on basketball season! #deceive

  16. Dave
    8:50 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    Im sitting hear thinking about what time I will be back in the parking lot once the game starts.

  17. abelincon
    9:10 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    My point is that you can’t really tell how good the team is after one game. If they did not win against both Kent state and WKU I would be concerned, but I dont see that happening.

  18. STEVE!
    10:50 pm September 3, 2012 Permalink

    It’s sad that fans of an SEC team are even discussing matter-of-factly what has to be done to beat the likes of a Kent State (“Kent Stae will certainly present some challenges to Kentucky come Sasturday”). Weren’t they one of the TWO teams in the country that were worse than us offensively last season?