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Run game determines the winner on September 2nd

Picking a winner for the annual Governor’s Cup meeting between Kentucky and Louisville? Instead of sizing up all units on the field, just decide who has the better running game. It’s that simple. The winner of the last 13 meetings between the two teams, dating back to 1999, has always outrushed the opposing team. Furthermore, ten times in those 13 meetings the leading rusher from the winning team has outrushed the entire losing team combined.

Going back to 2007 when Kentucky’s four-game winning streak over the Cardinals began the ground attack was solid, and as history suggests, a key reason for winning the games. Rafael Little led the Cats with 151 yards on 27 carries, single handedly outrushing Louisville’s 101-yard total and Anthony Allen’s 96-yard contribution.

The following year in 2008 was uglier, but the trend remains true. Tony Dixon and Derrick Locke paced Kentucky’s running game with a combined 52 yards, chipping in to the 63-yard total. On the other side, Victor Anderson mustered only 31 rushing yards on 12 attempts. Even in bad years, the running game determines the winner.

Kentucky bounced back in 2009, with Locke taking over the starting duties and running for 72 yards on the Cardinals. Alfonso Smith added 45, and John Connor 28 as Kentucky piled up 168 yards on 33 attempts, good for over five-yards per carry. Louisville’s Victor Anderson had a solid game, adding 110 yards on 19 carries, but it wasn’t enough. Even in the good years, the running game determines the winner.

In 2010 Kentucky had its best running game of the four-game stretch; Locke rushed for 104 yards while Randall Cobb got loose, adding 80 yards on only four carries. The 230 total yards outrushed Louisville’s 190, who were led by Bilal Powell’s 153-yards. Even in their better years, the running game still determines the winner.

Finally, in 2011 Kentucky’s winning streak over their rivals was snapped. Louisville reeled off 181 total yards, blowing past Kentucky’s 35-yard total. It comes as no surprise that the rushing leader in this contest resulted in the winner.

It’s a simple conclusion that more rushing yards equals a better chance of winning, but the fact that both teams had up and down years in their ground attacks suggests the relationship is uncanny. Now in 2012, you take your pick… Is a veteran CoShik Williams, a healthy Raymond Sanders and Josh Clemons, or an unknown Dy’shawn Mobley enough to out-run Louisville? The Cardinals return Dominique Brown and Jeremy Wright who torched the Cats for a combined 147 yards of the team’s 181-yard total last season. If 13 years of history repeats itself in this rivalry once again, look for the running game to tell the story.

[Source: The Cardinal Connect]

Article written by Stuart Hammer

B.S. Broadcast Journalism from the University of Kentucky. @StuartHammerKSR

8 Comments for Run game determines the winner on September 2nd

  1. el cid
    3:15 pm August 14, 2012 Permalink

    Can I get my MBA from UNC’s Kenan school (see banner above) by taking all my classes from AFAM dept?

  2. Source
    3:30 pm August 14, 2012 Permalink

    who the heck here reads the Cardinal Connect and why? Gross.

  3. gobgblu37
    3:33 pm August 14, 2012 Permalink

    No doubt the Cats need to be able to run on the cards but the real question mark is Oline. Will our Oline open holes and give the qb time to pass down field. Last year they didnt, lets hope this year they can! GBB!!!

  4. Tom
    3:35 pm August 14, 2012 Permalink

    Running backs do not exist in a vacuum. Effective line play = solid yards.

    You ask: “…Is a veteran CoShik Williams, a healthy Raymond Sanders and Josh Clemons, or an unknown Dy’shawn Mobley enough to out-run Louisville?”

    ANSWER: By themselves? No, running backs are part of a package deal.

  5. Tom
    3:36 pm August 14, 2012 Permalink

    3. we were typing at the same time! lol

  6. Bald Guy
    3:42 pm August 14, 2012 Permalink

    Louisville’s run game last year was not as good as ours by the years end. Our offensive line play early was absolutely pathetic and those dirty birds are about to see a team that has improved.

  7. JBR
    3:48 pm August 14, 2012 Permalink

    Here is the problem…on paper, yes, we should be good in the running game AGAINST U of L. BUT, we have Joker and his favoritism culture. Sanders has had his time…an outstanding young man…but just can’t get it done. But Joker has him second on his man-crush list behind Newton. Then you have the obligatory upperclassmen that will be next. Last year was a debacle…time start fresh. We have some stud younger guys at RB that still have enthusiasm…PLAY THEM. START THEM. Joker hasn’t dulled them down yet, they just might have a spark.

  8. Some Guy in Kentucky
    9:52 pm August 14, 2012 Permalink

    No question that the OL has to play a big part in any success from QB or RB’s.