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Cats Run All Over Orange Storm, Miss Opportunity 49-36

UK Athletics

UK Athletics

UK Athletics

Kentucky traveled to Neyland Stadium with a glimmer of SEC East hope but a rash of injuries, poor tackling, more dropped passes, inconsistent QB play, and offensive Red Zone misfortunes doomed the Wildcats back to .500.

Tennessee defensive coordinator Bob Shoop proclaimed that nobody could run the football on the Orange Swarm earlier this season. Wrong; see Texas A&M (353), Alabama (409), and Kentucky (435).

The Wildcats ran over, through, past, and around the Orange Swarm but failed to score touchdowns in the Red Zone.

What happened? The game can be summarized in the opening paragraph but if we must dive deeper here goes:


Rushing Offense

-UK ran for an astonishing 435 yards.

-Jon Toth and his line-mates may be a collection of disrespected no-names but its playing physical, efficiently, and with sincere purpose. Respect.

-Boom Williams: 16 carries, 127 yards, 1 TD

-Benny Snell: 15 carries, 79 yards

-JoJo Kemp: 8 carries, 90 yards, 1 TD

-Siheim King: 6 carries, 75 yards, 1 TD

-Stephen Johnson: 12 carries, 72 yards

Struggles in the Red Zone

-6 trips; 2 TD’s, 4 FG’s, 1 fumble. Ballgame.

-The question remains; why? Answer is three-fold. The first lies within Jimmies and Joes or personnel. Red Zone offense is an art form and on many occasions is won by the team with the most dynamic playmakers. UK’s dynamic playmakers happen to be at RB; not at QB or WR. UK is limited by positions that can influence.

-The second reason is that as the field shrinks, so does the wildcat formation’s variations. Wrinkles must be installed.

-3rd answer falls on the Kentucky’s inability to close the deal or score during explosion plays. The Wildcats fall victim to its own sustained drive success.

True freshman sensation Benny Snell fumbled in the Red Zone just as Kentucky was about to shorten the margin. With all that Snell has done in 2016; one fumble shouldn’t diminish his value and plethora of contributions. Benny will be fine.

Drops/Inconsistent Passing Game

-QB Stephen Johnson has limitations. But consider this; other college football teams that have played with its backup quarterback for a long period of time have fared much worse than Kentucky. While inconsistent, Johnson has given his team a chance to win and has won 5 football games in 2016.

-Johnson missed a wide-open Dorian Baker in the end zone following a play action fake. He also missed on a reverse pass to Benny Snell and on another to TE CJ Conrad.

-Garrett Johnson and Blake Bone both had piercing drops. Bone later made amends with a pretty sideline catch.

-A lack of passing game rhythm due to inaccurate passes and dropped passes have and could continue to haunt Kentucky.

UK Athletics

UK Athletics


Jordan Jones Injury

-Jones was leading the SEC with 58 solo tackles prior to Saturday. He was also the league’s 3rd leading tackler with 81, 5th in TFL; 10. Jones’ absence due to back spasms was definitely felt as UT repetitively ran the football directly at the interior of the Kentucky defense. Jordan Jones proved to be irreplaceable.

Josh Allen Injury

-The former 2 star from New Jersey is one QB sack shy of equaling Bud Dupree’s senior season total. His 6.5 QB sacks have occurred in 10 football games.

-Sophomore OLB’s Josh Allen and Denzil Ware combined for 15 total tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, and 2 QB sacks. The duo has equaled Bud Dupree/Za’Darious Smith’s 2014 season QB sack total. Ware and Allen have a very bright future in Lexington and beyond.

Missed Tackles

Missed tackles will get you beat. UK missed enough tackles against Tennessee to lose twice.

Rush Defense

-Tennessee rushed for 376 yards.

-Alvin Kamara: 10 carries, 128 yards, 2 TD’s, 12.8 yards per.

-QB Joshua Dobbs: 13 carries, 138 yards, 2 TD’s, 10.6 yards per.

-John Kelly: 14 carries, 90 yards, 6.4 yards per.

Secondary Woes; Derrick Baity and Chris Westry Injuries

-Zone coverage deficiencies resurfaced as Josh Dobbs connected to a wide open receiver in the end zone for a touchdown.

Wildcats missed assignments and lost one-on-one battles with UT receivers.

-CB’s Chris Westry and Derrick Baity were both injured. Baity returned to produce an interception just before halftime.

Explosion Plays

-A pregame key to the game was to, “Make Em Earn It”. That didn’t happen as Tennessee only had to convert 1/5 on 3rd down which is an indication of a high number of long yardage plays.

-UK did not make routine plays that resulted in UT explosion plays.

-Tennessee explosive play touchdowns: Alvin Kamara 29, 17 yard runs, Dobbs 42 yard run and 24 yard TD pass, and Josh Malone 51 yard TD catch.

-The Volunteers ran just 59 plays as it totaled 599 yards. That’s 10.1 yards per play. That’s too much.


-Kentucky’s punting can only be described as an adventure.

-Paintsville’s Kash Daniel is the team’s special team’s MVP through 10 games.

UK Athletics

UK Athletics

What does all this mean?

-Tennessee won the football game with 30 minutes still left on the pregame clock two years ago in Neyland Stadium. The 2014 Wildcats quit or failed to show up for a scheduled fight with its one-time rivals.

-The youthful and depth chart depleted Cats fought till the last buzzer on Saturday. While injuries and missed tackles may have at times caused the BBN to think otherwise; I don’t feel as if Mark Stoops’ team ever threw in the towel.

-Kentucky is now 5-5 with Austin Peay next on the schedule. By all accounts the Wildcats should beat the Governors to become bowl eligible for the 1st time since 2010. But one can’t help but to feel the sting of recent unpleasant losses to Georgia and Tennessee. Both games appeared to be there for the taking, but the Football Wildcats didn’t pounce on a multitude of opportunities.

-Tennessee stumbled and bumbled into the game but then strutted off the field after beating the Wildcats 49-36.

-Kentucky didn’t lack effort. It did suffer from a lack of focus as could be seen in dropped passes, inaccurate passes to open receivers, blown coverages, and missed tackles.

-2016 was supposed to be the Year of the Volunteer as Butch Jones has recruited for this season with intent for a UT return to SEC and national prominence. Even after limited by injuries, it was obvious on Saturday that Tennessee was the more talented team. After suffering from its own injuries; the lack of defensive quality depth became an obvious liability.

-QB Joshua Dobbs continued to be a Cat killer. While having a substandard season, the senior dominated Kentucky to the tone of 330 yards and 5 TD’s.

-Very few of the most battle tested BBN expected to go bowling after starting the season 0-2 with humiliating losses to Southern Miss and Florida. You can throw in losing its starting quarterback to the discouraging factors. It may not feel like it after watching a disheartening performance in Knoxville, but Mark Stoops’ team has overachieved.

Article written by Freddie Maggard

Former University of Kentucky Quarterback and Andy Griffith Fan Club President

12 Comments for Cats Run All Over Orange Storm, Miss Opportunity 49-36

  1. AGSlater
    10:51 am November 13, 2016 Permalink

    Our running game was great, but overall we looked lost. Piss poor defense, poor play calling. Guess we should still be happy with our coaching staff because we are going to a bowl. These teams we beat aren’t going to be this bad for long so if we stay at our same pace especially on defense no way in hell we win 6 or more in the following years. Stoops’ defense has been horrendous since he has been here. Now all you Stoop troopers can say ” well we are gettin’ better by golly”

  2. BluKudzu
    11:00 am November 13, 2016 Permalink

    Taking stock of the stats, and the game I saw, I am thinking, based on the curb stomping we took last year, and comparing it to the loss again this year, We have progressed in 2 of the phases of the game, and we have woefully gotten worse in the third.
    Offense has done much better, statistically speaking, and in my opinion, we have one of the best run blocking lines, we have had in years.
    I believe although a a bit of an issue with punting, overall, we have given up fewer scores with special teams , this year versus last. I will take it.
    Defense, sorry, not buying they have over achieved. They have not done so since Stoops/Eliot has been here. It was not the performance in the Red Zone that beat us. It was giving up 7 touchdowns in 4 quarters. The defense, if compared to the Tennessee game last year, gave up more yards and points. Obviously, this is not a phase of the game that has been acceptable, by any coaches standards. Everyone preaches about the great players we have, and we have talent, don’t get me wrong, but come on man, something needs to change.
    We got 4 wins in the SEC East, I glad for that, it will ensure a 4th place finish, and even better, makes this team bowl eligible with one more win. I will take it.
    For this team to get to the next level, the defensive game has to step up. Time to look at that in detail, if we ever wish to take the next step.

  3. Kernel Sanders
    11:39 am November 13, 2016 Permalink

    I get what you are saying, but I think it’s not very meaningful to compare this year’s game to last year. Tennessee was decimated by injury….lost a huge playmaker in Berry last week, definitely missing Reeves-Maybin, had the turmoil of the mid season Hurd transfer. Lots of reports the past 2 weeks imply that Butch Jones had lost the support of his players. I guess I’m saying this isn’t the same UT team I thought we would be playing when assessing our opponents in pre season.

    Obviously you are correct about defense. But…while I appreciate the job Gran has done to build a credible offense around the Wildcat scheme, I think for us to take a step forward 2 things equally important to defensive improvement must happen.. 1.) at least be average (not poor) at pass blocking 2.) find a quarterback that will at least be an average passer.

    I appreciate the job Johnson has done, but you cannot win when the defense knows that they can get to the QB before he has time to throw long (poor pass blocking) or when the defense knows we can’t throw short (poor accuracy by our QB). I honestly don’t know what to expect next year…I don’t think Johnson can improve enough to be a viable SEC QB next year, don’t know if Barker will even play again if reports are true. Which may leave us with either a redshirt freshman QB or a true freshman QB. Kinda scary.

    Go Cats! Beat Peay!

    • Kernel Sanders
      11:40 am November 13, 2016 Permalink

      ^ meant to reply to kudzu

  4. kampus korner
    1:19 pm November 13, 2016 Permalink

    Freddie, you proclaim Stoops and company have over achieved??? UK has not beaten a team with a winning record. Where is the over achievement? We haven’t even met expectations before or after the first two games. The teams we have beaten, Vandy, Missouri, South Carolina and Mississippi State are all bottom feeds in their respective divisions. We are not even close to “over achieving”.

  5. blueballs80
    2:06 pm November 13, 2016 Permalink

    we are making progress and it is also a matter of personnel. Our passing game has to improve. Our ground game is really good. Recievers can’t get in a groove and timing is off when the QB is not very accurate. Next season with added redshirts, we should be a competitive team and hopefully more consistency at QB.

  6. Jiminy Crickets
    3:08 pm November 13, 2016 Permalink

    when are we going to admit that year 4 is almost complete and Stoops has yet to have a single victory against a team that finished the regular season with a winning record?? His “signature win” is against a USC team that finished the regular season 6-6.

    he is 0-9 against top 25 teams
    and 1-16 against teams in the RPI top 50
    his record at UK is 17-29 with 3 of those wins over non-major teams

    You know youre dealing with a fanbase willing to accept mediocrity when 5 wins against losing teams, and beating a winless non-major team to get to go to a junk post-season bowl is considered “progress”

    • Jiminy Crickets
      3:20 pm November 13, 2016 Permalink

      Stoops better thank the football gods that we made a 51yard FG to beat bottom dweller Miss St at home, otherwise he would be looking at another 5 win season against the easiest schedule he will ever play against.

      An above average team would have won 8-9 games against UKs schedule this year.

  7. Jiminy Crickets
    3:25 pm November 13, 2016 Permalink

    I could have written this article for you and saved you a lot of time….

    UKs ground game is dominant. Everything else sucks.

  8. jaws2
    5:47 pm November 13, 2016 Permalink

    We’ll beat AP, but Lamar will run for 200+ if he needs to when we play uofsmell. Hate to say it, but he’s that good.

  9. UK Fan In Nashville
    10:45 am November 14, 2016 Permalink

    I was thinking we were progressing, but these last two games have proved otherwise. We have two of the best running backs in the country and an incredible offensive line, yet we have lost three games to unranked opponents, including two at home. We lost both our games against ranked teams, but this has been one of the easiest schedules UK has ever had to face in the program’s history. We should be 7-3 with the talent and relative health we’ve had. This team is underachieving incredibly. Thankfully we bring back about 85% of our 3-deep roster next year. Maybe if the coaching improves we can do something more than barely making a bowl.

  10. lribookend
    4:41 pm November 14, 2016 Permalink

    For those who lament the fans who “accept mediocrity”, I suggest you “accept reality”. KY football is never going to be a perennial SEC football contender. Kentucky is not Hawaii, it is not Alaska, it is not Alabama. It is KY. I love it will all my heart. But UK is no more likely to be an SEC football power over an extended period of time than Auburn is likely to be a perennial basketball power. Yes, the Tigers have had some good players and some good coaches over the years, and have built a new ( although somewhat small, but possible to sell out) basketball facility. They hired a name (even if not a very good coach) in Bruce Pearl. But if the Auburn fans think they are going to beat out Kentucky for the SEC championship in basketball more often than once every 40 years or so, they are delusional. Facilities and coaching and recruiting are all great, but history is nearly impossible to change. A one-year anomaly is always possible, but long term, UK’s best hope is to win 6-8 games per year, and go to a minor bowl. Like the Trump protesters, get a life, accept reality, and stop yapping.