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Cats run by the 49ers by 48

UK Athletics | @UKAthletics

The Drew Barker era was ushered in by a ground explosion as Kentucky rushed the football 44 times for 415 yards. A snowy Commonwealth Stadium was sparsely occupied, but that didn’t detract from an exciting outing from a team that has frustrated its fan base for the better part of eleven weeks. Butts in the seats aren’t a right, they’re earned. On Saturday, UK did its part to regain the BBN’s trust in a dominating win over Charlotte.

Observations from the Frozen Tundra of Commonwealth Stadium

OFFENSE

— Drew Barker managed the game. Wind conditions coupled with rain/snow made for difficult passing conditions. Barker was patient and efficient in his first start. Drew went the distance and finished the game 16-29 for 129 yards. Again, given conditions and circumstance of a first start scenario, Saturday was an effective beginning for the redshirt freshman.

— The much maligned offensive line excelled in run blocking, but is still lacking in pass protection. After focusing on the group, its deficiencies are mainly at Tackle. Center and guard play was exceptional.

— The right side of the offensive line is much more competent with Cole Mosier and George Asafo-Adjei. George picked up twists and stunts as Mosier controlled the point of attack that freed up Wildcat runners. A healthy George Asafo-Adjei is force magnifier for an offensive line that has very little depth.

— Speaking of those runners: JoJo Kemp, 11 attempts for 165 yards and 3 TD’s. Boom Williams joined in the fun with 16 carries for 150 and 2 scores. The Cats were 9 yards away from having three one hundred yard rushers as true freshman Sihiem King had 91 yards on just 5 runs and a touchdown. All above hit the hole at a higher speed than seen before.

— Kentucky is a better football team when it establishes the run. Lack of offensive line depth and the inability to secure the edge vs. elite pass rushers dictate this offense to be reliant upon the ground game. It’s not the Air Raid nor is it the ground and pound. I’m really not for sure what it is, but whatever it was on Saturday, it worked.

— First down continued to plague. If UK is to beat Louisville, it has to somehow manage to keep itself out of certain passing situations. 2nd and 10’s were too plentiful, again. Louisville is too talented on the edge to live behind the chains.

— On a night when it could, Kentucky simplified its game plan and executed plays that were consistently successful. This included a new power package that featured Jacob Hyde at fullback. The Lawnmower’s block on the poor Charlotte defensive back will be a highlight reel favorite. UK also had more success when running north and south. Boom Williams lost ten yards on run plays, many of which were on first down.

— The whole Dorian Baker/Drew Barker hysteria was debunked as the team’s leading receiver had zero receptions. Garrett Johnson led with 5 grabs for 33 yards.

DEFENSE

— Kentucky picked up where it left off against Vanderbilt. However, the difference in Saturday’s game was the across the line of scrimmage action. The UK defense totaled 9 Tackles for Loss (TFL) and 4 quarterback sacks. Both were categories in which the Cats were ranked last in the Southeastern Conference.

— Senior Farrington Huguennin led the way with 6 tackles, 1.5 QB sack, and 3 TFL. Josh Forrest resumed his role as the team’s leading tackler with 8 before being taken out of the game for a much deserved rest.

— Sophomore Matt Elam got in on the Tackle for Loss parade and played a solid football game.

— Khalid Henderson, what can you say? He’s been a consistent linebacker on a defense that has lacked in that category. Henderson rushed the passer, was persistent against the run, and delivered the hit that led to Mike Edwards pick 6.

— One concern from the game was that Charlotte established the stretch run play off the read option look. The 49’ers rushed 48 times for 146 yards. But, it was only 3/17 on third down. Andrew Buie had 23 carries for 80 yards and QB Brooks Harden ran the football on 10 occasions for 70. The latter worries.

— The secondary was aggressive following short pass completions. Charlotte’s leading receiver, Austin Duke, had 3 receptions but totaled minus 1 yard.

— Darius West displayed the talent that Mark Stoops and staff have been telling us about.  The redshirt freshman racked up 7 tackles and was a force on special team coverage units. Combined with fellow freshman Mike Edwards, the safety positions appear to be trending upward. Same can be said about fellow freshmen Derrick Baity and Chris Westry at cornerback.

— True freshman OLB Josh Allen, a former 2 star I might add, had one QB sack and 2 TFL. At one point in the game, Kentucky had six defensive freshmen on the field.

SPECIAL TEAMS

— Kicker Miles Butler had himself a night. Two kickoffs sailed through the end zone as he was perfect on the night in FG and PAT’s.

— UK had no glaring special team’s errors. That’s improvement from the past month. Punt returner Charles Walker remained confident as coverage teams were enforcing.

COACHING

— Many had asked for this category. For the third consecutive game, Mark Stoops was faced with a 4th and 1 with less than two minutes remaining in the first half. On Saturday, he decided to punt. Result was zero late half points surrendered.

— The team was prepared and motivated. On a nasty evening, the Cats sustained inspiration through the elements and a less than capacity crowd. Winning is fun. Winning in a route is a blast.

— Between series, the sideline was busy. Assistant coaches were hands-on instructing technique as well as working the grease boards. A complaint I’ve had in the past are the “heater huddlers” or players more concerned with warming than participating. Didn’t see that vs. Charlotte. Players were engaged, coaches were coaching, and adjustments were timely. Before the remarks section blows up, yes I understand it was against Charlotte. But again, if you’re going to criticize, you have to be willing to praise.

— A similar punt return situation presented itself that was reminiscent of the 8 man out debacle from earlier this fall. Stoops and company handled it as eleven men were on the field to include a punt returner.

— As stated above, OC Shannon Dawson kept it simple and adjusted short yardage strategies. While racking up 544 total yards, not sure there are valid complaints. Improvements necessary? Absolutely, most noticeably in pass protection.

What does all this mean?

Truth is, Charlotte was not a very good football team. Going into the game, the spread was 24.5. UK hadn’t scored 24 points in a game since October 15. Racking up 58 while giving up just 10 can only be described as an efficient win over an opponent it should have beaten. Same could have been said against EKU which as we all know took an overtime session to secure the W. In the season’s opener, UK had to rely upon a late Mikel Horton touchdown to beat Louisiana.

Kentucky was better than Auburn and Vanderbilt. Both resulted in a loss. Forgive me for not being overly critical of a 48 point home win. For one, it gives a resemblance of pride back to a team that has taken a pounding on the field, in the stands, and from behind keyboards. Yours truly included. It also provided a spark going into an ever so important, Governor’s Cup week.

The argument that Mark Stoops inherited a depleted roster and that a three year turn around will take five years has been doubted and ridiculed. True, Kentucky may have 22 better starters, but an eleven game stretch has shown that it takes time to develop adequate depth. The lack thereof is obvious and has been magnified on the line of scrimmage. Reality is Kentucky needs more SEC quality players and more birthdays from its rookies.

Now, it’s on. Kentucky vs. Louisville for all the marbles. Win and go bowling. Lose, and well, that won’t be good. How will this team react? Will Saturday’s momentum carry over?  Will CWS be packed? We’ll have many discussions about the Cards. But for one cold November night, all was good in Commonwealth Stadium.

Article written by Freddie Maggard

Former University of Kentucky Quarterback and Andy Griffith Fan Club President

26 Comments for Cats run by the 49ers by 48



  1. The Rest of the story
    12:10 pm November 22, 2015 Permalink

    Can anyone tell me what was done to earn our trust again? Beating a hapless, pathetic, glorified high school team does nothing to bolster feelings about next week. UL was down by 20 at the half against Pitt and still almost came back, with the second string true freshman quarterback. Unless the Cats have a rushing attack like last night there is no chance of beating the Tards. With no offensive line to protect any quarterback the passing game is basically dead for this team. On top of all that does this team and especially this coaching staff really deserve a bowl game after the melt down that is UK football coaching. Les Miles may be available soon ditch Stoops and make a run for a real coach.



  2. inside info2
    12:24 pm November 22, 2015 Permalink

    Thanks Freddie. Another objective post. Also thanks for putting in the coaching section.

    This was a much needed win. Nothing to complain about.



  3. cats42301
    12:35 pm November 22, 2015 Permalink

    Can’t type sorry! Maggard, not Magfard!! Lol sorry



  4. roundball fool
    12:57 pm November 22, 2015 Permalink

    Thanks for the even handed summary, Freddie.
    We’ll need to pass the ball down field more if we’re to build on this game.
    I really like hearing that the coaches were engaged and…coaching the team up!
    Go Big Blue!!!



  5. cats paw
    12:59 pm November 22, 2015 Permalink

    so we’ve suddenly went from a 3 yr turn around to 5 because of the depleted talent? funny how we go from “being there” after winning 4 or 5 in a row and playing Florida, SC, an mizzou so good to not having the talent to beat Vandy! This program was never on probation. Stoops inherited a team that has sent several “pro bowl” caliber players into the NFL. Add three yrs of supposive great recruiting classes and here we set talking 5 yr plans. And if he ever was to luck into a 7-8 win season… he would be on the first train out of here. thats his 5 yr plan!



    • UK Big Board Update
      2:17 pm November 22, 2015 Permalink

      The word ‘supposive’ does not exist.

      Meanwhile, Pitt throttled UofLoL 42-17 at one point – in the first half.

      The Tards did something UK hasn’t done all year – allowed 42 points in a half.

      🙂



    • theSkinny81
      3:33 pm November 22, 2015 Permalink

      “And if he ever was to luck into a 7-8 win season… he would be on the first train out of here.”

      Damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t…

      Cats paw, you are a real piece of work.



  6. eyebleedblue
    1:01 pm November 22, 2015 Permalink

    Great post, again. Not much complaining anymore, at this point it’s pretty simple for the last 2 weeks, win and all is forgiven from the majority of fans. With this W we are halfway there, so now just beat the dirty birds.



    • The Rest of the story
      1:45 pm November 22, 2015 Permalink

      Drink that kool-aid my friend thats it



    • CATandMONKEY
      2:39 pm November 22, 2015 Permalink

      If we beat UofL most will be forgiven. .500 was the reasonable expectation at the start of the season. We won’t completely forget the Vandy debacle nor the MS State beatdown and oh-so-close Auburn game..nor should we. But if we beat the dirty birds on Saturday and avoid the stupid mistakes next season we will have a fanbase, coaches and team on the same page…IF.

      Rest of the Story is still not fit to even carry Paul Harvey’s jock.



    • The Rest of the story
      7:44 pm November 22, 2015 Permalink

      Wow a whole lot of Ifs there monkey man. Would love to beat the Tards but not gonna happen and a whole lot of fans are not gonna forgive what this coaching staff has done this year.



    • theSkinny81
      10:56 pm November 22, 2015 Permalink

      TRotS: Monkey man? Can you not give the person enough respect to call him by his actual name? Thats not how you make friends, “fellow UK fan”.

      Classless.



  7. jayiron11
    1:43 pm November 22, 2015 Permalink

    Les Miles? Les Miles? Les Miles isn’t coming to UK. Some of you people have no concept of football.

    You have idiots like this guy talking about Les Miles coming to UK. I guarantee you that THE REST OF THE STORY couldn’t watch a football game and tell you what type of Defense the team is in from play to play.

    You people that consider yourselves to be experts on football really have no clue. The majority of people bashing Stoops wouldn’t have the first clue how to teach technique to any of the positions on the team.

    It is really embarrassing as a fan of UK football to read the comments pertaining to football. It really is embarrassing. I’m embarrassed cause these people actually think they know about football.

    Les Miles isnt coming to UK. You dipshits better shut your mouths. I’m not an expert. I don’t know more about football than Stoops or Dawson but I do know more than the majority of dipshit Debbie Downers and Negative Nancys that post on this site.

    I think its time as a fan base to start holding ourselves accountable. Therefore to you, The Rest Of The Story, please do yourself a favor and just STFU. It’s obvious you have no concept of football tactics, techniques, and procedures.

    This dumass said Les Miles.. unbelievable



    • The Rest of the story
      1:52 pm November 22, 2015 Permalink

      You my friend are the dipshitt here. I am not getting paid millions to make football decisions on this team that is what we hired Stoops to do. His decision making is evident in time management, assistant coaching hires and player development. No Miles will not come to this hole for coaching failures but my point that seems to be way over your head is how Stoops and his band of Merry Men have stollen from the university and given to themselves. All I need to know about football is results and in that sense Stoops is a true failure.



    • theSkinny81
      3:28 pm November 22, 2015 Permalink

      The Rest of the story, what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.



    • theWilkman
      10:53 am November 23, 2015 Permalink

      jayiron11 – stick around here long enough and you’ll see its a small handful who make statements like that. You’re spot on, though. They know next to nothing about the game itself, let alone coaching or player development. You can spot them by their obsession with Stoops’ salary. It’s as if they expect us to get and keep a coach by paying them peanuts. You can include an understanding of simple economics to the list of things they know nothing about.



  8. 2thepoint
    1:56 pm November 22, 2015 Permalink

    Good post as usual Freddie! To today’s complainers, it has always been a 5 year plan because of as the first complainer said, ‘glorified high school players” were mostly what Stoops inherited. Players, even good ones, don’t get bigger, faster, stronger or experienced overnight. My complaints have been answered for now. We saw an engaged team from coaches and players. I know they will have to play with as much enthusiasm next Saturday to come away with a win regardless of talent or play calling. I don’t know if the problem of protecting the quarterback can be fixed by then or not. Probably not this year or it would have been, but enthusiasm will help.

    Barker’s passes were mostly on target which was great to see although we didn’t see many long passes downfield, but for once I agree with Dawson’s pass plays. Perhaps he wanted to save a long play or two for UL. Freddie, I think the 1st down run time after time is the problem with 1st downs efficiency I scream at my TV every time they do it, because it almost always results in 2nd and 8 or 10. Don’t abandon it, but call short pass plays that get 6 or 7 yards if not more so then all options are available to them on 2nd down.

    As to beating UL Petrino is good at figuring out the other teams at halftime, but they still give up points. UK has a good shot to win if UK comes with a good play calling plan and not only figures out UL while adding some things after halftime to keep UL on their heels.



  9. bluecat15
    2:09 pm November 22, 2015 Permalink

    Bowl or Bust!!!!!



  10. keiths
    3:03 pm November 22, 2015 Permalink

    UofL Is going to beat us like a rented mule. 35-7 and Drew Barker will be sacked 7 times. AT LEAST.



    • theSkinny81
      3:16 pm November 22, 2015 Permalink

      Why do you say that?

      Louisville in the ACC (not SEC) struggled with 3-8 Boston College (17-14), 3-8 Wake Forest (20-19), and 4-7 Virginia (31-38), not to mention was drubbed by Auburn, and demolished by PITT.

      Louisville is no powerhouse team. They don’t defend the run well, and we have three talented RB’s… I like our chances.



    • The Rest of the story
      7:46 pm November 22, 2015 Permalink

      Wow a whole lot of Ifs there monkey man. Would love to beat the Tards but not gonna happen and a whole lot of fans are not gonna forgive what this coaching staff has done this year.



    • The Rest of the story
      7:47 pm November 22, 2015 Permalink

      theSkinny is a moron just move along nothing to read of importance here.



    • theSkinny81
      10:51 pm November 22, 2015 Permalink

      Wow. Stay classy, Story. I just gave statistics backing up my comment, and I’m called a moron.

      Methinks you may be a closet Louisville fan….



  11. buzzard
    3:13 pm November 22, 2015 Permalink

    I agree that ‘beating a hapless, pathetic, glorified high school team does nothing to bolster feelings about next week’. I’m pretty sure Male HS could have given Charlotte a good game.
    We lost at least two games because of bad coaching, including head coach. I see no reason to start Barker at QB because Dawson is not getting the job done….or our offensive line, or our receivers. Barker did nothing last night to show me he’s any better than Towles.
    I hope Barker has a great game and beats Louisville, but Towles was thrown under the bus. After the game, I saw Towles walk across the field to congratulate Charlotte while others went straight to the locker room (Matt Elam). Towels is a class act, and UK is lucky to have him.



  12. Scrappy Cat
    9:07 pm November 24, 2015 Permalink

    Not only did Barker not show to be any better than Towles, he actually didn’t look as good as Towles when you consider the competition level. Towles has had better numbers than this 16 for 29 against SEC opponents. And when his numbers were bad it’s because the whole team was being manhandled by much bigger, stronger, more talented teams with much more depth and better coaching/play calling. When the OL can’t protect, receivers can’t get free or catch the ball, the offensive play calling is predictable, and so on the QB is not going to look good regardless. Towles hasn’t been making this team and coaching staff look bad, this team and coaching staff have been making Towles look bad. I don’t know Towles personally, but I sure feel sorry for him shouldering the blame for the losses on our record when this team has played terrible around him and the coaching staff has made some of the dumbest decisions possible. No QB would have succeeded under the conditions he played under.