Kentucky’s defense is celebrating a six-interception, shutout win over the Mississippi State Bulldogs, but the offense still has quite a bit of questions to answer moving forward.
Despite the 24-2 victory, the Wildcats finished with just 157 net yards on the evening, including 84 net rushing yards and 73 passing yards.
As a team, UK finished with 138 fewer total yards, eight fewer first downs, lost the time of possession battle 25:11 to 34:49, completed just eight passes, and punted the ball eight times. The Wildcats had five three-and-outs and eight drives of ten yards or less.
After a night of offensive struggles, UK wide receiver Akeem Hayes took to Twitter to voice his frustration in the lack of production and targets coming his way.
“19 out,” he said in one tweet.
“I Thought the best players supposed to play ???” the redshirt sophomore added.
Hayes deleted both tweets within minutes.
In the win, Hayes finished with zero targets after picking up 30 yards on two receptions last week against Ole Miss and 24 yards, two receptions and one touchdown to open the season at Auburn.
Just this week, UK offensive coordinator Eddie Gran – Hayes’ lead recruiter out of high school – said he was grateful the 5-foot-8 receiver was still on the team after a difficult start to his career academically.
“He had done some things academically that were not up to our standard. Quite honestly, he was on his way out,” Gran said. “He turned it around.”
After back-to-back semesters of 3.0 grade-point averages, Gran said Hayes has gotten his “act together” in the classroom and is now ready to contribute on the field.
“He’s contributing now [on offense]. He’s getting better every day,” Gran said. “Everybody wants the ball but if you sow seeds things will pay off. He is starting to get a taste of success which has been really good for the young man.”
Here’s to hoping the UK offense can get back on track against Tennessee.