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UK vs. WKU Recap

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Well it was UGLY, but the Cats managed to find a way to defeat Western Kentucky 14-3 in Nashville last night. This game was hard to watch on many levels. Both teams combined for seven turnovers and 165 yards in penalties. Overall it was just a sloppy game that was poorly attended. Hopefully this game serves as a wake-up call for the Cats. It could have easily ended differently.

WKU’s offense managed 234 yards of production compared to UK’s 175 yards. If anyone would have told me UK was going to hold Bobby Rainey to 105 rushing yards, I would have said, “I’ll take it.” Remember, last season Rainey torched the Cats for 155 rushing yards. Both teams missed opportunities in the 1st half on offense. If the Cats are going to win this season, they can’t afford to miss opportunities.

The Cats came out flat to continue the trend from last season. On the first series, UK went three and out. To say the offense struggled all night is an understatement. Most everyone felt UK’s offensive line would be able to handle WKU’s defensive line, but that wasn’t the case. The Cats managed 78 rushing yards on 34 carries. To put this in perspective, Morgan Newton finished the night with 14 yards on eight carries. His long run of the night came in the 4th quarter when he managed to break a 54-yard run on 3rd and long. Newton has to make quicker decisions and not take sacks.

Newton finished the night 7 of 18 passing for 97 yards and one touchdown. He threw three interceptions. Newton has always appeared to be one who puts a lot of unnecessary pressure on himself. It seemed that way last night. He was forcing throws and simply making poor decisions. All three of his interceptions could have been avoided. I’m sure film review with the staff will be fun. I would love to be a fly on the wall. He has to make better decisions with the football.

As much as Newton struggled, he did make some great throws. Early in the game, he threw a beautiful ball that hit La’Rod King’s hands in stride. Unfortunately, the pass slipped through King’s hands. It should be been a touchdown. Matt Roark had a couple of drops, but none worse than one on 3rd down that forced the Cats to punt. If Roark makes that catch, the Cats keep the chains moving and keep momentum on their side.  Look for Demarco Robinson to receive more chances next week.

In trying to find positives, Josh Clemons recorded his first career touchdown and the running backs didn’t put the ball on the ground. Raymond Sanders started the game, but Clemons saw a lot of action too. Clemons finished the game with 39 yards on 11 carries and Sanders rushed for 35 yards on 13 carries. Neither running back really separated them self. However, Sanders had a few solid runs late to keep the chains and clock moving.

UK’s offensive line struggled all night. Mike Summers has been expressing his concern about the lack of reps the first unit had together during camp. Neither Stuart Hines nor Matt Smith started. Hines entered the game quickly, but the staff held Smith out.  He makes a lot of calls for the offensive line. Hopefully these guys can get it together quickly as this was supposed to be the strength of the team.

The game ball should go to Ryan Tydlacka or Winston Guy. Both players had a huge night. Tydlacka had seven punts for 330 yards and flipped the field position several times. Greg Nord has told Tylacka he wants him to “make it rain.” I have been saying he may be UK’s secret weapon this season. Winston Guy had a great game. He was all over the field and recorded two interceptions. He is going to have a huge year in his new role on defense.

While the Cats offense was horrible, the defense really stood out. They had a couple of breakdowns, but they did manage to force four turnovers. Luke McDermott started strong and recorded a sack. Collins Ukwu injured his shoulder, but was having a solid game up to that point. Hopefully he will be ready to go next week against Central Michigan. Danny Trevathan turned in another All-American performance. Every time it looked like Bobby Rainey was about to break a run, Trevathan was taking him to the ground. Overall, fans have to feel much better about the defense after last season.

Based on all the feedback I had been receiving, I felt the Cats were going to simply drill Western Kentucky. The team sounded really focused and all we heard were positives when it came to Morgan Newton. Willie Taggart deserves credit. His team believed they could win and still had a chance in the 4th quarter. I said many times this summer, this UK team could beat anyone, but could lose to anyone too. I think last night showed UK has very little margin for error.

After this performance, many are going to write off this team. Many are going to question Joker Phillips. I’ll tell you to hang in there. It’s not uncommon for offenses to struggle early in the season. Newton will get better and so will the offensive line. The good news is they have a few extra days to get healthy and prepare for Central Michigan. At the end of the day, a win is a win. That’s all that matters.

As always, you can check out Bleed Blue Kentucky or follow me on Twitter for more UK football news. You can also become a fan on Facebook for updates.

Article written by Aaron Cordero

35 Comments for UK vs. WKU Recap



  1. STEVE!
    1:16 pm September 2, 2011 Permalink

    I think the success of our defense can be attributed just as much to the pathetic play of WKU’s QB (9-27) as to our dominance. Western had receivers running free in our secondary all night, but he couldn’t connect with them.



  2. Nobody
    1:16 pm September 2, 2011 Permalink

    Mossakowski with 440 passing yards…. 5 passing touchdowns…1 rushing…. Yet this kid never got a chance to show his game… Another example of how bad our coaching staff is…



  3. DHo
    1:19 pm September 2, 2011 Permalink

    “I said many times this summer, this UK team could beat anyone”
    Uhh, you might want to start to back away from that statement, Aaron.



  4. World's Greatest AD
    1:25 pm September 2, 2011 Permalink

    Right on #1 and #3



  5. GODSAZNO
    1:32 pm September 2, 2011 Permalink

    4 first downs. Bring back Bill Curry.



  6. Matt
    1:42 pm September 2, 2011 Permalink

    KIRBY SMARTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT



  7. Matt H
    1:42 pm September 2, 2011 Permalink

    same ole kentucky….not sure what you guys expected? we will never elevate this program to where we all want to see it go….you can say that i’m not a true fan or whatever other crap you’d like. the fact is that we will NEVER compete in the SEC because we got burnt for cheating and won’t do it again. when you add that to the fact that we have an awful recruiting base compared to the other SEC programs it’s really not a surprise. how long til midnight madness?



  8. ukcatfanno1
    1:45 pm September 2, 2011 Permalink

    Hopefully this game is a wake up call to the players, if not after the cake walk next week they will not win again until jacksonville st. Newton needs to calm down and focus, he was just out of sorts last night. God I hope they dont play like that against florida.



  9. zpt11
    1:45 pm September 2, 2011 Permalink

    aaron, this team could beat anyone? come on… do you watch other teams play?



  10. Catsantonio
    1:45 pm September 2, 2011 Permalink

    Defense was OK, they missed a few wide open passes. We may never compete in the SEC, but we should dominate WKU every time. We should also bring 100% effort every time, which I did not see last night. Something is going on where this team starts slow, this is 14 games in a row. I only wish I knew.



  11. cooler92
    1:47 pm September 2, 2011 Permalink

    Agree with 1, 2 and 3. Newton, night and day from last year. Yeah right! He’s lost out there along with Joker. Will they win a game in the SEC? Mossakowski tearing it up, good for him.



  12. Robster
    1:50 pm September 2, 2011 Permalink

    Look on the bright side…Only 42 days until Midnight Madness 🙂 Go CATS !!!



  13. #TheySupposedToBeSEC
    1:53 pm September 2, 2011 Permalink

    Rofl



  14. SweetTeaMob til I DIE
    1:54 pm September 2, 2011 Permalink

    Defense was ok. Offense was terrible.. and they know it. I’m pretty confident that we just had an off game. A really really OFF game. First game jitters for an unexperienced team is a tough thing to overcome. Nervousness was a BIG factor in this game. I believe that we will get better and succeed this season.



  15. shadowboxer
    1:59 pm September 2, 2011 Permalink

    The game ball to the punter? I think that sums the game up right there.



  16. Joe Diesel
    2:02 pm September 2, 2011 Permalink

    #13. You beat Murray State by 12 AT HOME. I would not brag too much yet.



  17. kaboom!
    2:05 pm September 2, 2011 Permalink

    sorry. this isn’t pro football & we have to play SEC games. “a win is a win” doesn’t apply here at all. barely beating WKU means we’re looking at 4-5 wins. remember, we were attempting to improve on 6 wins a year when brooks retired.



  18. tbd4567
    2:05 pm September 2, 2011 Permalink

    I feel like Charlie Brown after Margaret has pulled the fortieth time.



  19. BigBlueStreeb
    2:11 pm September 2, 2011 Permalink

    #18-Don’t you mean Lucy? Who the hell is Margaret?



  20. BPM
    2:19 pm September 2, 2011 Permalink

    If I am not mistaken, the sad thing is that of the 4 total first downs, 2 of them could be attributed to WKU penalties. So, really 2 actual earned first downs the entire game, against a team that has been in Division I for all of 16 months. Can we please stop with the ridiculous slogans and talk of “Championships” from the football program?



  21. Karl Marx
    2:20 pm September 2, 2011 Permalink

    “This UK team could beat anyone.”
    I’m sorry, is the Comedy Central blog now?



  22. DerbyDemon
    2:24 pm September 2, 2011 Permalink

    #17–I’m not sure how BARELY beating WKU equals 4-5 wins. Any ideas against who those wins will come against? On a side note, LHL WILL NOT let you talk/post anything about Mossakowski if you DARE compare what he did to what Morgan-I-Can’t-Pass-the-ball-but-I’m-slow Newton did. An off night? All I saw was a bunch of individuals who simply think if they run their mouths, they’ll win games. Doesn’t work that way; never has, never will.



  23. 3 fan
    2:26 pm September 2, 2011 Permalink

    You have a tough job Aaron. You have to be polite and a homer for UK when it is pretty clear from the post that you wanted to say that UK sucks this year



  24. Randy Sanders
    2:31 pm September 2, 2011 Permalink

    You all just need to calm the F down. It’s the first game for goodness sake. What did you expect, to show everything we had on opening night? Sheesh.



  25. Aren'tyouforgettingsomething
    2:41 pm September 2, 2011 Permalink

    Yes, we played like total crap I and I agree with most of the comments thus far. But like I posted yesterday, WKU is not a terrible team (other than their qb). They’ve had back to back good recruiting classes with lots of 3* players and they returned almost everyone from a team that was coming on, to some degree, at the end of last year. I knew WKU would be improved but thought they would make their big leap next year. So what if they win 7 or 8 games this year and take the Sun Belt title. Wouldn’t that make you feel just a little better. Bottom line, jump off a cliff yet, just wait a few games and see how things play out. Then feel free cry if need be.



  26. JBR
    2:51 pm September 2, 2011 Permalink

    I have a question for you Aaron…over on your football sight, where is your arrogant “expert” Messenger right now? He always berates people who do not accept his thinking, always makes excuses, always thinks Joker is the greatest thing ever, but when he is wrong, he disappears for days. You have run off many of the knowledgeable football fans over there because of the apologist excuse making and whining from Mess…so why don’t we talk about what is really happening with the program? Why is this program under Joker consistently unable to be prepared for a game and come out flat and awful? Why does Joker always talk a good game (he even duped you this time), but never backs it up? I thought that Minter might change the culture of this team and the general attitude. I do see an improvement in the defense, but not the overall preparation and execution of the team. Watch the little things…last year and this game…consistently disturbing. And while the defense did look better, if the WKU qb could throw the ball at all, we lose this game.



  27. 4th and 2
    2:57 pm September 2, 2011 Permalink

    Punt!



  28. Kanter Banter
    2:58 pm September 2, 2011 Permalink

    Everyone needs to put it in perspective.
    1) UK defense looked better than last year, because it really couldn’t look much worse. WKU QB can’t throw, UK could gamble and send a few extra rushers. It worked, every time WKU threw (very predictable) we were able to single coverage and watch a bad pass.
    2) Morgan Newton is HORRIBLE. The worst QB to start in the SEC for over 20 years….If I’m wrong name one worse. He may do well in practice, as we all heard….but come game time he’s a clown. Can not think on his feet….or he’s thinking too much and has no touch. Can’t put it all together. Again, UK was going to play both…but I guess, Newton wasn’t ready to be taken out….Joker doesn’t want to see someone better after all the lip service he has done for Newton.
    3) Offensively we sputtered because, WKU knew Newton can’t beat us with his arm…so pin your ears back and blitz every play…it worked. When newton finally got a few passes to OUR receivers…they drop them. Beware UK fans, every team will play will make Newton beat them….and he can’t. between his lack of game composure and the receivers sucking…we will have a long year………then we got to live with it next year again…THEN they will fire Joker.



  29. Brant Baines
    3:25 pm September 2, 2011 Permalink

    Where is this 155 yard stat from last year’s game coming from. Rainey had 184. Also, Collins Ukwu didn’t have a shoulder injury. He had a bruised chest. Lock it up Aaron.



  30. Number 8
    3:30 pm September 2, 2011 Permalink

    Joker should not be blamed for this loss at all. The offense was simply terrible with the exception of Clemons. Newton looked scared all night and couldn’t make a touch throw if his life depended on it. The receivers were terrible and need to learn how to cath the ball. And for the o-line, well they didn’t create a hole to run thru all night, a pathetic performance from supposedly such a veteran and hyped group. And once again, newton was TERRIBLE!!



  31. Cake Walk???
    3:50 pm September 2, 2011 Permalink

    Hey #8 I hate to be the one to break it to ya but Central Michigan > WKU, buddy.



  32. DerbyDemon
    3:51 pm September 2, 2011 Permalink

    #24–I’m afraid they DID show everything they’ve got and it wasn’t too damn good.



  33. TxCat
    6:56 pm September 2, 2011 Permalink

    Lock out really hurt the offense….oh crap, thought this was the Bengals blog.



  34. DirtyDave
    7:14 pm September 2, 2011 Permalink

    Aside from the fact that our qb couldn’t make good throws…. No touch, just rifle the ball on every short pass… The few passes that did find the mark, at least in my view our receivers didn’t show concentration and specifically didn’t show EFFORT !! They were very lackadaisical forget about the fact they areD-1 players on full scholarship and couldn’t catch the ball even when it hit them on the hands……I can do that!



  35. JDaws
    2:01 am September 3, 2011 Permalink

    Did anyone notice the replay of Newtons first INT. Our receivers got knocked to the ground at least 10 yards out. That usually ends in an interception.