An after action review (AAR) is a military evaluation process for analyzing what happened, why it happened, and how it can be done better. We’re proud to partner with the Kentucky Army National Guard for all AAR’s this season. A message from the Kentucky Army National Guard:
The Kentucky Army National Guard is YOUR Kentucky home team. The Soldiers of the Kentucky National Guard are your friends, neighbors, coworkers and classmates. We are from each county in Kentucky and we stand together to support our fellow Kentuckians in times of natural disaster and civil unrest. We also serve our nation at the direction of the president should the need for national defense arise. Soldiers in the Kentucky Army National Guard are able to take advantage of opportunities in education with trade skill training, student loan repayment and up to $60,000 in tuition assistance to state public universities while serving part time. Do you think you have what it takes to be a member of our team? For more information about joining the Kentucky Army National Guard, Text “KYGUARD” to 95577. Live Here, Serve Here, Kentucky Army National Guard.
Looking back at my post How Kentucky Beats Ole Miss, the UK offense was the most successful of the three phases while the defense and special teams didn’t meet as many objectives.
Stay true to the run and rush for over 200 yards. Kentucky doubled this goal by running for 408. The Wildcats averaged 7.3 yards per carry and had three players exceed the 100-yard mark: Terry Wilson (22 carries, 129 yards, 3 TD’s), Christopher Rodriguez Jr. (17 carries, 133 yards, 2 TD’s), and AJ Rose (12 carries, 117 yards, 1 TD). The Big Blue Wall dominated. UK earned 26, 1st downs and racked up 559-total yards. It won the Time of Possession 36:05 to 23:55.
More chunk pass plays. Pass catchers win 1-on-1 battles. Josh Ali and Akeem Hayes had chunk or explosive receptions. With only 18 pass attempts, opportunities were limited and missed by a couple dropped passes.
65% completion percentage. Terry Wilson surpassed 65% after completing 77 percent of his passes. Wilson finished the game 14/18 for 151 yards. His four misses included three drops and a throw away which was ruled intentional grounding.
No turnovers. Kentucky had one fumble which was extra costly due to the fact it occurred in the Red Zone. A 72-yard run by AJ Rose ended short of the end-zone due to an early celebration. Rose fumbled on the goal line later in that series.
75% TD percentage in the Red Zone. Kentucky accomplished this objective after scoring 5 touchdowns out of 6 trips inside the 20-yard line.
Shorten the game by S.L.O.P (Sustained, Long, Offensive, Possessions). The Wildcat offense won the Time of Possession battle 36:05 to 23:55. Unfortunately, Ole Miss continued its trend with offensive chunk plays that didn’t require a great deal of clock during its scoring drives.
Don’t beat itself. AJ Rose’s 72-yard run should have resulted in a first quarter touchdown. However, that run ended short of the end zone after an early celebration. A goal line fumble followed. The Cats also had a costly holding call that led to a three and out during a promising drive. Wilson completed 77% of his passes but three of his incompletions were dropped passes.
Force turnovers. The Cats did not meet this goal. Ole Miss did not have a turnover. Kentucky has not forced a turnover in its first two games.
3 QB Sacks. UK registered two total QB Sacks: Boogie Watson with one, Marquan McCall and J.J. Weaver shared the other. Ole Miss QB Matt Corral was elusive and dodged potential sack opportunities.
Communicate against Ole Miss tempo. The Rebels went fast. Extremely fast. Hard to measure this one, but tempo was a successful tool for Matt Corral and that talented group of skill players.
Stop the run. Ole Miss rushed 38 times for a net total of 139 yards (3.7 yards-per-attempt) which is a win for the Kentucky defense. However, Rebel runs were timely and costly, especially the Corral scrambles. RB Jerrion Ealy was held to 10 carries for 44 yards.
Know where Elijah Moore is at all times. Moore registered 10 catches for the second consecutive week but accumulated 92 yards against Kentucky compared to 227 vs. Florida. Much like the rushing game, Moore’s catches were timely and influential. WR Jonathan Mingo was the Rebel’s top pass catcher after an eight-catch performance that netted 128 yards and 2 scores.
Defend the middle of the field. The Cats did not meet this requirement. Rebel pass catchers won the game between the hashes often times during play-action and RPO passes. TE Kenny Yeboah only had three catches but they went for 83 yards and a score. Moore and Mingo also maneuvered behind the linebackers and in front of and at times behind the safeties.
Be sound. Another objective goal, but with a missed FG and PAT, the Cats mishaps occurred at important junctures of the game. It must be noted that the missed FG was from 49 yards out, which is not a particularly easy attempt. Kicker Chance Poore did a better job kicking the football into the end zone. But, all eyes were on Matt Ruffolo’s missed overtime PAT. There were several plays that influenced the final score. A missed overtime PAT will get the attention. But, the game’s outcome should have never hinged on that play. The Cats had opportunities that were missed on offense and defense that could have secured the win. Max Duffy was excellent as usual averaging 50 yards per boot.
WHAT DOES ALL THIS MEAN?
Kentucky out-gained Ole Miss 559 yards to 459 and averaged 7.6 yards per play compared to 6.9 by the Rebels. The Big Blue Wall played at an extremely high level. It was better on third down conversions (55%-50%). The Cats won the Time of Possession stat line after holding on to the football for 36:05 compared to 23:55 by the road team. A major factor of the Time of Possession was that UK rushed for 408 yards and had three players go over 100. The two teams both recorded 26 first downs. Terry Wilson completed 77% of his passes and rushed for over 100 yards. And, the Cats lost.
Much like at Auburn, Saturday’s contest was a tale of two halves. UK efficiently managed the “Middle Eight” minutes by scoring on its last possession before halftime and striking pay dirt on the third quarter’s opening drive to take a 28-14 lead. Ole Miss responded with two quick-strike scoring drives that covered 75 and 54 yards respectively to tie the game. Those two drives only took the Rebels 2:54 seconds to score. These two series were a precursor of things to happen. Ole Miss averaged 8.8 yards per play in the second half and overtime.
Kentucky did not have an answer for QB Matt Corral. Corral went 24/29 for 320 yards and 4 touchdowns. The sophomore was also elusive in the pocket and ran for timely first downs especially in the second half.
The Cats will now face Miss State and the Mike Leach Air Raid that’s coming off a home loss against Arkansas. Kentucky’s pass defense has struggled in the first two weeks of the season. It will get tested again on Saturday night.