Each Monday I will break down the offensive numbers in hopefully a more interesting way that you normally see. I like to see if there are certain situations where the UK offense excels, based on down and distance. I will also keep a running count of the stats over the course of the season. Against Southern Miss, the UK run game was obviously poor but there were a couple spots where the Cats showed some nice promise.
Pass: 6-8, 99 yards, 1 sack for -8 yards
Run: 14 rushes for 52 yards (3.7 ypc) (1 fumble lost)
Breakdown: For a team that called 14 running plays against 9 passing plays, only going for 3.7 yards per carry is concerning. UK had far too many 2 yards and fewer runs on 1st down which puts them in tougher spots on other downs. The passing game was very good though, hitting on a couple longer plays, including the 50+ yard completion to Conrad early in the game. Will be interesting to see if they continue to focus on the running game on 1st down against EKU.
2nd Down and Long (6 yards or more)
Pass: 3-6, 58 yards, 1 TD
Run: 7 rushes for 12 yards (1.7 ypc)
Breakdown: The Conrad TD catch is included in here but beyond that the Cats were fairly woeful in this situation and on 2nd down in general. The Cats did not get themselves out of a yardage hole very often and the rushing attack was completely ineffective.
2nd Down and Short (5 yards or fewer)
Pass: No Plays
Run: 5 rushes for -1 yards (-0.2 ypc)
Breakdown: The stats are a bit skewed by the 11-yard loss on the botched snap on the 1st drive. But the other 4 carries still went for just 10 yards. Point being, a strength for the team last year was a weakness against Southern Miss.
3rd Down and Long (6 yards or more)
Pass: 2-6, 19 yards (converted 0 of 6)
Run: 3 rushes for 10 yards (3.3 ypc) (converted 1 of 3)
Breakdown: Just bad, plain and simple. 1 of 9 on 3rd and long isn’t going to cut it. Keeping drives sustained by converting these difficult situations is huge and UK was no threat to do it against Southern Miss. The only conversion was a Stephen Johnson scramble on a broken play. UK will have to improve it’s passing threats moving forward.
3rd Down and Short (5 yards or more)
Pass: No Plays
Run: 4 rushes for 12 yards, 1 TD (3.0 ypc) (converted 2 of 4)
Breakdown: Johnson’s nice TD run included here but only converting 50% of these opportunities is not good. Last year UK hovered around the 75% mark for the season. On 3rd and short, if your running game is supposed to be the strength, you have to be able to get the tough yards. Another thing to consider is that UK only saw 4 of these short-yardage situations while 9 times they faced 3rd and long.