Some numbers will raise your eyebrows for all of the wrong reasons. While doing a little digging Tuesday evening, I uncovered two things about the Kentucky football team I wish I could unsee.
After Tuesday’s practice, offensive coordinator Eddie Gran was asked if A.J. Rose’s recent fumble woes were a real concern. Also the running backs coach, Gran responded affirmatively.
“It’s concerning, there’s no question. There’s an urgency and he knows that,” Gran said. “He had not (had a fumbling problem) up until a couple last year. It’s gotta be zero. It’s just a matter of — you look at some plays and he’s high and tight. He’s got that arm locked. This one, when you’re in traffic you gotta get the other hand on there and you gotta lock the wrist. There’s a big-time sense of urgency and yeah, he can get it fixed.”
How concerning is it? We recalled the fumbles in consecutive games against the Mississippi schools, each inside the 25 yard-line, with one against Ole Miss just inches away from a touchdown. You might remember that he fumbled away a similar scoring opportunity against Vanderbilt in November of 2019. The anecdotal evidence is bad. The hard statistics are even worse.
The redshirt senior has six fumbles in the last seven games. Over that span Rose has fumbled it on average once out of every 9.5 carries. That’s just gross, plain and simple.
It’s still not the ugliest individual stat I uncovered for all of the wrong reasons. I was happy to see Jordan Wright get into the end zone against Mississippi State with a pick six. Harking back to the final play of the Belk Bowl, a scoop and score by Wright, it inspired this comment from Saturday night.
When Jordan Wright creates turnovers, he finishes the play in the end zone. Those are the rules.
— Nick Roush (@RoushKSR) October 11, 2020
Kentucky’s starting outside linebacker now has two career touchdowns. It’s something almost none of his teammates in the wide receivers’ room can say. That’s right, Jordan Wright has more career touchdowns than everyone in UK’s wide receiver room not named Josh Ali.
- WR Josh Ali: 4
- OLB Jordan Wright: 2
- TE Keaton Upshaw: 2
- TE Justin Rigg: 1
- WR Bryce Oliver: 1
- WR Allen Dailey: 1
- WR Akeem Hayes: 1
- WR Clevan Thomas: 1
It’s not great. Kentucky’s pass-catchers have to be better. There’s no way around it.
Despite some offensive struggles, they cannot take away the good that happened Saturday night. Mark Stoops improved to 1-7 ATS as a home favorite in the SEC. Yes, it was the first time a Stoops team covered the spread as a favorite at Kroger Field against an SEC opponent.
With the 24-2 victory over Mississippi State, Kentucky defeated an SEC opponent by more than three scores for just the fifth time in the last ten seasons. That kind of win doesn’t happen often. Enjoy it.