The Kentucky Wildcats have been their own worst enemy during an early-season two game losing streak. My Friday KSR posts usually entail a key matchup for Saturday’s game. After racking my brain in search of an intriguing matchup, I kept circling back to Kentucky vs. Kentucky. Let’s take a look:
Points off Turnovers
The Wildcats have scored 14 points off turnovers. Opponents: 38. UK has 8 turnovers in two games: 4 INTs, 3 fumbles.
— Kentucky 14 – Southern Miss 10
— Kentucky 0 – Florida 28
Third Down Conversion
UK has converted 33% on third down, 7/21 for the season. Opponents have greatly surpassed the Cats in this column: 62% conversion ratio, 23/37.
— Kentucky 3/9 – Southern Miss 9/17
— Kentucky 4/12 – Florida 14/20
Time of Possession
Kentucky has executed 98 offensive plays with a 21:01 average time of possession. Conversely its opponents have dominated this category by running 179 plays with an average time of possession of 38:59.
— Kentucky 19:28 – Southern Miss 40:32
— Kentucky 22:37 – Florida 37:26
UK has not scored in the third quarter this season. Opponents have scored five touchdowns for a total of 35 points.
Kentucky 0 – Southern Miss 21
Kentucky 0 – Florida 14
On the Ground
UK has rushed for 190 yards off 59 carries (95 ypg). Its opponents have dominated this statistic by rolling up 506 yards from 118 attempts (253 ypg).
Kentucky 25 rushes, 96 yards – Southern Miss 68 carries, 262 yards
Kentucky 34 rushes, 94 yards – Florida 50 carries, 244 yards.
Turnovers have led to opponent points. Offensive inefficiencies on third down initiate a snowball effect of shortened drives which limits the number of offensive plays and influences an extremely low time of possession. Minimal time of possession is an identifier of being defensively dominated on third down.
The sum of the above can be defined as negative momentum. UK has been a team that is defined by extreme success or failure; both of which are tied to momentum. When things go right, they do so in bunches. When things go bad, unfortunately they also do so in bunches.
The third quarter has been brutal for Stoops and company. Being outscored 35-0 coming out of halftime is a systemic trend that stretches over the span of two seasons.
I’m not in the finger-pointing business. Matter of fact, I’m actually tasked to analyze personnel, statistics, scheme, and trends in order to provide data for others (readers) to form opinion. However, I do find it incorrect to blame one side of the football or the other while not taking all phases into account. In football, the offense and defense are statistically connected in a win or lose world of competition. In the case of the 2016 Wildcats, both are destructively feeding off each other which has led to losses to Southern Miss and Florida.
For Kentucky to beat New Mexico State, it must first overcome itself. By doing so it has a chance to overcome six quarters of adverse statistical trends.