Just two weeks into the season, it’s easy to point out Kentucky football’s biggest strengths and weaknesses, at least up to this point. While the Wildcats have quite a bit going for them on several fronts – rushing offense, passing efficiency, and punting, just to name a few – they’ve certainly had their fair share of struggles – pass defense, pass rushing, and kicking – as well.
To match numbers to the simple eye test, KSR has gathered all of the best and worst statistics in the three major categories: offense, defense and special teams.
Some may seem obvious, while others will leave you scratching your head (or pulling your hair out).
Let’s take a look:
The Positives (Offense)
As expected, Kentucky’s rushing stats are among the best of the best, while some of Terry Wilson’s passing numbers may be a bit of a surprise.
- No. 1 in the nation in 3rd down conversions with 18 on 30 total attempts, good for 60 percent.
- No. 2 in the nation in time of possession, averaging 36 minutes per game on offense.
- No, 5 overall in rushing yards per game with 276.5, good for first in the SEC by a significant margin. Tennessee is the next closest at No. 24 in the nation with 182.5 yards per game. No. 7 in yards per carry at 5.76. No. 17 in rushing touchdowns with seven.
- No. 12 in completion percentage at 67.9 percent, good for No. 4 in the SEC.
- No. 18 in total offense, averaging 471.5 yards per contest, good for fifth in the SEC
- No. 20 in fewest penalties with 12 on the year, including No. 25 in total penalty yards at 121 overall.
- Tied for No. 31 with four sacks allowed in two games for an average of 2 sacks per contest, tied for fourth in the SEC.
- Tied for No. 34 in tackles for loss allowed with 5.50 per game (11 total).
The Negatives (Offense)
As for the bad, total fumbles and red zone efficiency are two key issues for the Kentucky offense.
- No. 47 in team passing efficiency (128.68)
- Tied for No. 51 in the nation in total first downs with 47 overall, including 25 rushing first downs, 20 passing first downs, and two first downs from penalties.
- Tied for No. 51 in scoring offense at 27.0 points per game. Only six teams have scored fewer points in the SEC.
- No. 58 in the country in passing offense with 195.0 yards per game, with only Vanderbilt throwing for fewer total yards (131.5). UK is also No. 62 overall in yards per completion with 10.26.
- Tied for No. 58 in the nation in fumbles lost with three in two games.
- No. 68 in red zone offense with a 62.5 percent conversion rate, with only Vanderbilt being worse (tied for last at 50 percent).
- Tied for last in the nation on 4th down conversions with zero on two attempts. One of 11 teams without a conversion on 4th.
The Positives (Defense)
UK has been able to stop the opposition from converting on fourth down completely, while rushing defense and total defense numbers are solid.
- Tied for No. 1 in college football with a 0.0 percent conversion rate on 4th down defense.
- Tied for No. 19 in college football with 42 first down given up to the opposition, including 24 through the air, 11 on the ground, and seven on penalties.
- No. 27 in the nation in rushing defense, allowing 115.0 yards per contest. That’s good for No. 9 in the SEC.
- Total defense, Kentucky is only No. 32 in the nation, allowing an average of 391.5 yards per contest. That stands ahead Arkansas (391.5), Texas A&M (399.5), Auburn (413.0), Missouri (418.0), Vanderbilt (435.0), LSU (449.0), Florida (471.0), and Ole Miss (600.5).
- UK is tied with Louisville in red zone defense at No. 29 in the nation, allowing an 80 percent conversion rate on ten total attempts, with all eight scores being for touchdowns.
The Negatives (Defense)
The bad is really bad for the UK defense, specifically in passing yards allowed, scoring defense, and turnover differential.
- Tied for No. 48 in the nation in tackles for loss per game at 5.0 in two outings (ten overall).
- Tied for No. 50 with 1.5 sacks per contest (three overall).
- Tied for 50th with LSU in 3rd down defense, allowing opponents to convert on 45.5 percent of attempts.
- No. 51 in total passing yards allowed with 553 total and 276.5 per game, including seven touchdowns and 13.83 yards per completion. Only 15 schools have a worse YPC mark: Clemson (13.89), Virginia (13.98), Duke (14.11), Navy (14.27), Texas A&M (14.63), Tulane (14.73), NC State (14.79), Texas Tech (14.86), UCF (14.94), South Alabama (15.26), LSU (15.66), App State (16.37), Oklahoma (17.00), Air Force (18.88), and ULM (19.87).
- No. 61 in scoring defense, giving up 35.50 points per game. Only Missouri (36.50) and Ole Miss (46.00) have worse averages in the SEC.
- Dead last in the country – No. 74 overall – in turnover differential at -4, tied with Georgia Tech, East Carolina and Mississippi State. One of three teams in the nation without a turnover. With zero turnovers on the year, UK is also tied for last in interceptions, fumbles recovered, and defensive touchdowns, obviously.
- Dead last in defensive passing efficiency, and by a significant margin (195.63).
The Positives (Special Teams)
Surprise! Kentucky has the best punting unit in college football thanks to Max Duffy.
- No. 1 in net punting at 48.86 net yards per punt (seven punts, 362 total yards)
- Tied for No. 6 in punt return defense at 0.00 yards per return
- No. 19 in punt return average at 11.50 yards per return
- No. 33 in kickoff returns, averaging 21.25 yards per return
The Negatives (Special Teams)
As for the kicking situation, that’s another story.
- Tied for No. 53 in made extra point attempts with six (6/7 on the year)
- No. 72 in the nation in kickoff return defense, allowing 34 yards per return.
- Tied for last in the nation with zero made field goals and 0.0 percent conversion rate
Through all the good and bad, though, the only stat that truly matters is the fact that Kentucky sits at 0-2 on the season, desperate for a victory.
Let’s fix that when Mike Leach and the Mississippi State Bulldogs head to Lexington on Saturday.