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UK Football’s Offense: First Six Games

UK Athletics

UK Athletics

UK Athletics

By now, many have provided an end of year review of some nature. Thought we could analyze 2015 somewhat differently by comparing weekly opponent’s status, level of effectiveness with resulting summarization or outcome:

Below is an analysis of the season’s first six games:

Louisiana Lafayette, Win 37-30

Level of difficulty: Low

Effectiveness: ULL press covered and forced UK to throw deep. Kentucky completed only 47% of his passes but averaged 16.1 yards per completion. UK managed just 18 first downs, but scored many of its first half points on explosion plays which is illustrated by its 7.2 yards per play. Kentucky rushed for 178 yards, threw for 257 for a total of 435 yards. Boom Williams led with 10 carries for 138 yards. Garrett Johnson was the team’s leading receiver with 5 catches, 85 yards and a touchdown.

Summary: Coming off four consecutive 9-4 seasons and bowl wins, the 2015 Ragin Cajuns were simply overrated. Boom Williams’ 75-yard jaunt christened the new CWS. Pregame festivities resulted in an exciting first half and sluggish finish. A late Mikel Horton touchdown ensured a win. An opening game win while being on upset alert by national talking heads seemed appeasing at the time.

South Carolina, Win 26-22

Level of difficulty: Medium

Effectiveness: 195 rushing yards plus 222 in the air resulted in 417 total yards. Run/pass balance was nearly equal. All three touchdowns came on the ground. For the night, UK averaged 5.2 yards per rush and 8.2 yards per completion while surrendering two quarterback sacks.

Summary: Kentucky’s most impressive half of the season came in the first thirty minutes in Columbia.  I felt at the time, Shannon Dawson called a near perfect game in the first and second quarters. The second half didn’t produce offensive points but was closed out by a powerful sequence to salt the clock. The road SEC victory over the then- Spurrier-led Gamecocks was considered a building block in program growth.

Florida, Loss 9-14

Level of difficulty: High

Effectiveness: 14 first downs, 115 yards rushing, 126 passing equaled 241 total yards. Pass protection and production struggled as UF racked up six quarterback sacks and held the Cats to just 8 completions on 24 attempts and 2 interceptions. The Cats did average 15.8 yards per completion but the “drops” reared its ugly head. Boom Williams led with 16 carries for 82 yards.

Summary: Close, but the inability to finish due to missed opportunity can best describe UK’s loss to the eventual East champion. Florida’s constant defensive pressure in all levels presented problems. Disappointing but not season momentum altering loss. 

Missouri, Win 21-13

Level of difficulty: High

Effectiveness: 18 first downs, 120 yards rushing, 249 passing equaled 369 total yards against the SEC’s top statistical defense. UK controlled the game and clock by utilizing 31:02 and surrendered just two quarterback sacks against a formidable Missouri pass rush. Third down was key as Kentucky converted 9/14 or 64%.

Summary: Best four, consecutive offensive quarters of the season. The Wildcats dominated a then ranked Missouri team that would change course due to Matty Mauk’s suspension. Answering the Florida loss by a solid performance indicated early season maturity. By season’s end, this game would be the team’s most impressive and complete win.

Eastern Kentucky, Win 34-27

Level of difficulty: Low

Effectiveness: 1.5 yards per rush frustrated and slowed production. The passing game fared better with 329 yards while averaging 11.3 yards per completion. Dorian Baker’s 8 catches for 86 yards and 2 TD’s were critical in UK’s win over its 1AA neighbor.

Summary: Red and yellow flags rained in Commonwealth Stadium. Line of scrimmage woes surfaced as UK rushed for a mere 55 yards.  Lack of offensive line depth became alarmingly clear. While watching from the sideline, this game also marked the first “Boom-less” moment. Going forward, UK’s offense lacked punch without Williams.  Two late-game two-minute offense drives for touchdown and an overtime score prevented the potential EKU upset. For some, this close call was alarming. Others chalked it up as a trap game that nearly went wrong. A portion of season losing skid tendencies surfaced and continued from this game.

Auburn, Loss 27-30

Level of difficulty: Medium

Effectiveness: 25 first downs resulted from 497 total yards. Boom Williams rushed 16 times for 118 yards while Garrett Johnson grabbed 9 passes for 160. Patrick Towles completed 27 passes for 359 yards. UK averaged 4.2 yards per rush and 13.3 yards per completion as it scored all three touchdowns on the ground. 497 total yards were Kentucky’s second most of 2015.

Summary: All signs pointed to a Kentucky win and entrance into the SEC East’s upper echelon. In actuality; at this point of the season UK had a better football team with more impactful playmakers. A slow start and continuation of missed opportunities slammed the door on its upward hierarchical climb. Auburn was an intimidating logo, not so much a national power as indicated in preseason polls. Seasonal trajectory began on this disappointing Thursday night.

What did all this mean?

At 4-2, Kentucky was sitting in a better position than projected. However, UK could have easily been 6-0 with close losses to Florida and Auburn. Conversely, it could have also been 0-6.

It was that kind of first half of the season.

Article written by Freddie Maggard

Former University of Kentucky Quarterback and Andy Griffith Fan Club President

6 Comments for UK Football’s Offense: First Six Games

  1. KTower
    6:20 pm December 8, 2015 Permalink

    Every Kentucky Fan loves Freddie Maggard. He is one of the best players to come out of Kentucky ever.

    But bagging on this past season is unfair.

    Maggard’s team at Kentucky went


    I will bet Maggard would not appreciate comparing records from the late 80s to today.

    Just Saying

    • Jaxson
      6:25 pm December 8, 2015 Permalink

      “One of the best players to come out of Kentucky ever.” Really?

  2. Long Dong Silver
    6:41 pm December 8, 2015 Permalink

    How long are we going to keep talking about last season? Last, as in its over. Done. Time to move on to the current sports.

  3. DennyC
    7:23 pm December 8, 2015 Permalink

    Uh-Oh… Can you stop here and not list the last 6 games?? I don’t want recruits to see how bad our coaches SUCK!

  4. inside info2
    10:26 pm December 8, 2015 Permalink

    Freddie–why have there not been any staff changes yet? Does this mean we can expect not to see any?

  5. Rajonrondo9
    9:01 am December 9, 2015 Permalink

    I wish we would quit talking about football. It gets more and more disappointing every time I see a post about it.