With little need to rehash the details that led to an ugly result, this post will be shorter than weeks past…
TENNESSEE SCORING PLAYS
— Joshua Dobbs, 28-yard run
— Aaron Medley, 44-yard field goal
— Josh Malone, 75-yard reception (on first down)
— Joshua Dobbs, 1-yard run (63-yard Kamara run to set up score)
— Jalen Hurd, 37-yard screen
— Evan Berry, 100-yard kickoff return
— Cameron Sutton, 84-yard punt return
Counting Alvin Kamara’s 63-yard run that led to a half-yard Dobbs QB sneak, Tennessee averaged 55.28 yards per score.
KENTUCKY SCORING PLAYS
— Cory Johnson, 77-yard scoop-and-score
— Patrick Towles, 1-yard run
— Garrett Johnson, 39-yard reception
WHAT IT ALL MEANS
— Kentucky has surrendered 13 touchdowns in the past eight quarters. The scoring onslaught can be attributed to one-on-one mismatches, sloppy tackling, and at times, defensive misalignment. The offense hasn’t helped. At one point in the first quarter, UT outgained the Cats, 144-2 yards. During all of the two yards, the Cats had ran six plays. Defense is on the field way, way too long.
— Two special team scores will get you beat, regardless the opponent. Evan Berry was leading the SEC and the nation going into Saturday’s game. A 3.1-second hang-time kickoff was like putting a baseball on a tee for a home run hitter. Coverage team had little chance to recover or defend. During Sutton’s 84-yard punt return, Mark Stoops indicated that two players did not perform their assigned duties. 14 non-offensive points, inexcusable.
— Offensively, first downs continue to limit production. All too often, 2nd-and-10 or worse has led to three-and-outs.
— Domination on both lines of scrimmage. Kentucky is just plain getting whipped up front. No other way to put it.
— With Kentucky quarterbacks getting very little time to go through progressions, when it does so, dropped passes or errant throws are the result. UK is a team whose supposed strength was its ability to throw the football. Pitching, protecting, and catching have been inconsistent at best.
— If you were to tell me that UK would hold Jalen Hurd to 63 rushing yards on 18 attempts, I would have assumed the game would have been closer. See above explosive play touchdowns as to why that was not the occasion. Kentucky’s first and second down defense was efficient. Third downs were its nemesis, again.
— UT safeties were playing 25 yards off the line of scrimmage. They did so to take away UK’s vertical passing game. The Volunteers didn’t have to blitz as it was getting plenty of pressure from its front four defenders.
— Tennessee was obviously the more skilled and talented football team. The Volunteers were bigger, stronger, and faster. UK is not at a talent position in which it can play sloppy and expect to win. Not yet.
— Someway, somehow, CJ Conrad must become an offensive focal point. The rookie is too good to be targeted only once in a night of offensive struggles.
— Mikel Horton exploded through the line of scrimmage. Normally a slow starter, Horton displayed a quick burst that resulted into a 14 rush, 110-yard game.
— Freshman defensive players: Cornerbacks Derrick Baity and Chris Westry, and safety Mike Edwards, played well. This week’s depth chart changes reflect their play.
Kentucky travels to Georgia on Saturday. The Dawgs are reeling. UGA hasn’t scored a touchdown in 10 quarters; it’s struggling at quarterback and completely underachieving. The SEC East favorites are now on the outside looking into to Atlanta. But remember, Georgia is supremely talented with many future NFL players on its roster. The Wildcats are now in a four game fight for their postseason lives.