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UK vs. Central Michigan Recap


The Cats played their home opener yesterday against Central Michigan in front of a crowd of 58,022. It was Hero’s day and the pregame festivities were a nice touch on a beautiful day. Fans finally got a look at the new scoreboards and heard the upgraded sound system. Not only did the Cats win, Randall Cobb made an appearance and brought a huge ovation. It really was a great day for UK football.

Joker Phillips said, “They say there’s no such thing as an ugly win. Well, we just had another not-so-pretty win. But we are 2-0. Probably about a third of the teams across the country are 2-0. We found a way to win this one. Rick Minter echoed Joker’s comments, “It really only matters how the game ends.” Remember that next week when the Cats take on the Cards.

A lot of people are going to look at the Cats performance today and say, “They started slow.” That’s not really accurate. Joker Phillips didn’t feel his team started slow. The Cats missed a few opportunities early. On the opening drive, Morgan Newton threw a beautiful pass to Matt Roark in the end zone, but he couldn’t come up with the touchdown. That’s a ball that has to be caught. UK had to settle for a field goal.

The Cats missed back to back opportunities in the 2nd quarter on the same drive. Morgan Newton failed to connect with a wide-open La’Rod King in the end zone and Craig McIntosh missed a short field goal attempt. As I have said many times before, this team can’t afford to miss opportunities and really can’t afford to leave points on the field.

While the Cats trailed 13-6 at half time, they should have been winning. Give Central Michigan credit. They came out with a good game plan and took it to the Cats early. Once UK was able to make adjustments at halftime, things were different in the second half. UK’s defense flexed their muscles and the momentum started to swing again. Central Michigan started to show a life again on offense, but UK had no part of it. The Cats came up with back to back stops on 3rd and 4th down, then Morgan Newton connected with La’Rod King on a deep ball to tie the game.

The momentum had shifted, but Central Michigan wasn’t ready to give up just yet. They came out on the next series and moved the ball down field. UK’s defense stepped up and forced another punt. Then the momentum completely shifted when Josh Clemons took the hand-off and went 88 yards for the touchdown. It was like Clemons’ run lifted the entire team and everyone relaxed. The run was the longest ever by a freshman and the third longest in UK history. The last time UK had a freshmen rush for more than 100 yards was in 2002. It’s only a matter of time before he becomes the starting running back.

On UK’s last scoring drive, fans saw an offense determined to score. Morgan Newton showed he can create problems for opposing defenses with his feet and both running backs had nice runs. Then Joker Phillips found himself in an interesting situation. It was 4th and goal inside the one-yard line. This is where Joker asked the team to “pick me up.” He made the decision to go for it up one score instead of kicking a field goal. While some may question his decision, I had no problem with it. The staff called the naked bootleg and Newton scrambled into the end zone. At that point, the game was over.

This game wasn’t what many had hoped for, but it was a big step in the right direction. The Cats offense showed improvement. UK’s defense continues to carry the team. Ryan Tydlacka, Joe Mansour and Craig McIntosh could be the best kicking trio in the SEC when it’s all said and done. Danny Trevathan continues to put up All-World stats. This was his 11th-consecutive game with double-digit tackles. UK’s offensive line had a much better game and Darrian Miller received his first career start at right tackle.

The Cats have a few guys banged up. The staff will need to evaluate Brian Adams, Matt Smith and Billy Joe Murphy. These didn’t dress against Central Michigan. Also, Winston Guy and Martavius Neloms will probably miss practice time this week to get healthy for next weekend.

UK is 2-0 and they play Louisville next week. The Cards just lost to FIU and will be desperate for a win. I’ll have a full preview later in the week for the Governor’s Cup. Next Saturday should be another great night in Lexington.

As always, you can check out Bleed Blue Kentucky or follow me on Twitter. You can also become a fan on Facebook to receive updates.

Article written by Aaron Cordero

12 Comments for UK vs. Central Michigan Recap

  1. Jimmy Buffett
    11:38 am September 11, 2011 Permalink

    If this is the first post, nobody cares.

  2. tdogg4033011
    11:39 am September 11, 2011 Permalink

    The only time Clemons shouldn’t be in the back field is when he needs a rest. He should
    get the majority of the carries, the kid is special.

  3. BigBlueSkyDog
    12:01 pm September 11, 2011 Permalink

    Don’t want to come off as Pollyannish. I know we still have major issues on offense but if somebody else was running that end zone route instead of Roark, the game might not have been as close as it was. Clemons also missed a blitz pickup in the second quarter that stopped a good drive. Newton also had eyes only for LaRod King. Many of the mistakes the offense made yesterday are correctable. Even the lone touchdown CMU scored was the result of bad tackling on the 3rd and long pass into the flat and that is also correctable. I feel much better after this game than after the WKU game. The O-line looked much better this week as well. We may still get pounded in the SEC but the Dirty Birds have a lot more issues than we’ve got. And that doesn’t include Clint Hurtt

  4. Maxwell
    12:06 pm September 11, 2011 Permalink

    Let’s be honest. We’re not going to win that many SEC games. But a win against U of Hell will put us at 3-0, with a “chance” to make something special happen. If Morgan Newton continues to improve every week and can continue to run the ball successfully, we’ll be fine. Let’s go CATS!!!!!!

  5. MtnCat
    12:27 pm September 11, 2011 Permalink

    Nice work Aaron.

  6. Some Guy in Kentucky
    12:30 pm September 11, 2011 Permalink

    I hope that we finally get to see “the swagger” that Newton is supposed to have off the field, on the field.

  7. ukfan
    12:47 pm September 11, 2011 Permalink

    Finally a post not filled with negatives. Tired of hearing all you haters bagging on this young offense. Give them time. You all probably same people calling for paw paw brooks head.

  8. barn
    12:48 pm September 11, 2011 Permalink

    does anyone still think this is the year we beat tinasee? watching the vawls beat a pretty good uc team yesterday didn’t bolster my confidence of that happening.

  9. Holden McGroin
    1:20 pm September 11, 2011 Permalink

    U of Loserville next. Go Cats!

  10. JBR
    2:50 pm September 11, 2011 Permalink

    Yeah #7, we should be grateful that we are 2-0 and make excuses like every other year in the history of UK football. This is one reason that we are so pathetic…we have sucked for so long, that much of our fan base is more than happy to make excuses and give us “time” to improve. Sure, each team should improve as the season wears on, but we barely beat two really bad football teams (look at the WKU score from yesterday). We are no where near as good as we should be with the talent we now have. Joker has shown no ability to get these guys prepared for a game, as we come out flat and unemotional again, and again, and again. When a team gives you negatives, then it is written about. When they start playing football like an SEC team, the positives will come…but this bs that UK has always done in football, the “wait til next year” and “two guys are hurt” crap has to stop. If we are to get a better football program, then expectations have to rise, and not simply watch two football games and then get ready for basketball season. A perfect example is Aaron’s site…a total apologist site that never holds this team or this coach accountable for what is really happening both on the field and in the locker room. A football site should talk football, and not excuses.

  11. ebell55
    6:51 pm September 11, 2011 Permalink

    10 you sir are an idiot. Just because you want UK to be great doesn’t mean crap! I have been very proud of this program over the last 6 years we have been competitive in 90% of our games your negativity towards the program is the number 1 problem!

  12. Evonne Kurdziel
    6:20 pm September 13, 2011 Permalink

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