An After Action Review, or AAR, is a US Army evaluation tool used to analyze an intended mission/action. Let’s apply this method to the Kentucky-Georgia Tech football game:
WHAT WERE INTENDED RESULTS
Win the football game
WHAT WERE ACTUAL RESULTS
Lost the football game 33-18
WHAT CAUSED OUR RESULTS
Lost line-of-scrimmage engagement
Georgia Tech dominated both sides of the line-of-scrimmage.
Opening drive turnover
Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers. We must have discussed and written about turnovers over 100 times leading up to Saturday. Tech’s final 3 games of 2016 produced 34 points off turnovers. A 1st quarter scoop and score increased that number to 41.
Failure to convert Red Zone, 4th and 1
The game’s outcome was never in doubt after the Cats failed to convert; momentum and attitude were all in favor of the Jackets from that point on.
Allowed Georgia Tech to win Time of Possession
Ga Tech: 32:22, UK 27:38. This is one category that Mark Stoops’ team could not afford to lose.
Bowl games are largely for the fans. The BBN showed up. Players interacted with the fans before and after the game. Appreciated.
Dorian Baker explosive play touchdown
Baker out-fought a defender in order to grab a difficult touchdown pass for the second consecutive game. Lamar Thomas will need Baker to come on strong as a senior in 2017.
Reserve defensive linemen: DT Tymere Dubose and DE TJ Carter
Jimmy Brumbaugh’s nightmare scenario became a reality after Alvonte Bell and Courtney Miggins left the game due to injury in the 1st quarter. Enter true freshman DE TJ Carter and sophomore DT Tymere Dubose.
Both played extremely well given circumstance. (See UK OL struggles vs. 2 redshirt juniors and 3 redshirt seniors). Asking reserve DL to square off against a 5th year senior center and quarterback executing a unique offense was an extremely tall task.
QB Stephen Johnson
Johnson was the only Wildcat offensive player to leave a dent in the Tech D: 19-34, 175 yards, 1 TD passing. 15 also led UK in rushing: 14 carries, 49 yards, 1 TD.
The junior QB battled and showed a great deal of guts in the 4th quarter.
A blocked punt led to a field goal. Kentucky averaged just 34 yards per punt. Punt team issues were prevalent in 2016 and remains a “must-improve” category going into 2017.
Tech averaged 24 yards per return. The 4th quarter failed on-side kick was not well executed. Tech fair caught and sealed the deal.
UK’s opponent consistently kicked the football through the end zone. Austin MacGinnis was apparently injured; UK’s kickoffs were short and lacked hang-time.
Offensive line play
Most perplexing game development was Kentucky’s ineffectiveness along the offensive line. We wrote on several occasions leading up to the game that the Yellow Jacket’s four starting defensive linemen were all redshirt junior/seniors. Experience and the nasty factor proved to be too much for the Wildcats. UK was out-toughed and willed up front.
Tech’s “Havoc” stats were not impressive leading up to the Taxslayer: 16 QB sacks (114th nationally), 53 tackles for loss (121st). Yellow Jacket defenders lived in Kentucky’s backfield for 60 minutes.
Interior defensive vulnerability
B-Back Dedrick Mills ran over and through the Cats for 169 yards off 31 carries. Paul Johnson’s triple option didn’t need option 2 and 3 due to Mills’ governance up the middle on simple dive plays.
How confident was Paul Johnson in Mills and his midline run? He decided to go for it on 4th and inches inside his own Red Zone. Result; 1st down. Onions.
The Wildcats entered the Taxslayer Bowl ranked 16th in the nation by averaging 241 rush yards per game. It ran for 149.