For the first time in who knows how long, Kentucky has beaten an SEC opponent not named Vanderbilt four times in a row. For what seemed like was going to be a disaster from the start, the Cats were able to find their mojo quickly and not let the game get away from them after the 67 yard touchdown pass to Deebo Samuel on the first play of the game. This year’s victory was the largest margin of victory in the four game winning streak against the Gamecocks. This win also means Kentucky is 3-0 for the first time since 2010! Here’s my takeaways from the game.
1. Stephen Johnson makes Winning Plays
Other than the pick he threw to Skai Moore at the beginning of the game, Stephen Johnson was making winning plays all night. The most obvious play we have to start with was the 3rd & 8 with just over three minutes left in the game. Johnson saw nobody was in coverage in the middle of the field and took off for essentially the game sealing play. Stephen was also making the critical 3rd and long passes and connecting more times than not. Stephen Johnson KEEPS ON WINNING which is why we all need to rally around him!
2. Lynn Bowden Got Snaps
The first official snap for Lynn Bowden out of the wildcat, a high snap which caused a turnover. After that play Bowden got to see the wildcat three more times where he turned what looked like nothing, into something. On one play I remember a hole never really opened but he was able to maneuver and dive for a gain of three yards. On another instance, the South Carolina defense got to him in the backfield and he was still able to twist and turn and somehow get a yard out of the play. Once Bowden starts getting some holes, he’s going to be a dangerous man.
3. Pass Defense has some Improving To Do
What we thought was going to be our strong side on defense has actually been our weakness. Our defense gave up 304 passing yards but to give them some credit, they did have two big time interceptions. Other than the first play of the game, we did a good job of not letting them have big plays in the air but the short and medium passes are still killing us. We need to get the short and medium pass defense cleaned up because these past two weeks have shown that may be something we aren’t great at. If we’re able to get it cleaned up, our defense could be a force to be reckoned with.
4. Run Defense was Great…again
Who would’ve ever thought we’d be a top 10 rushing defense in the country? This UK rushing defense still hasn’t allowed over 100 yards rushing in a game and we’ve played Ito Smith and an SEC O Line. The line has been able to clog up holes and for the most part only allow minimal gains on the ground. Other than an 11 yard scamper by Jake Bentley, we never gave them a large chunk of yardage on the ground. With Florida’s offense not being that great, I wouldn’t be surprised if we made it four straight games without allowing 100 rushing yards!
5. Automatic-Austin is the Best Kicker in the East
If it wasn’t for Daniel Carlson of Auburn I’d make the title best in all the SEC but I’m not sure who’s better out of the two. MacGinnis hit three straight field goals to keep the game two possessions for most of the game. He won the kicking battle in this game as South Carolina missed three field goals and an extra point. In my post about special teams deciding the game, field goal kicking wasn’t exactly what I had in mind but I’ll take the credit anyway. As long as he can keep up the great kicking, MacGinnis will become the highest scorer in Kentucky football history!
People kept on doubting the Cats but in the wise words of Mark Stoops, we went to work. With how this game has gone in the last four years, I can’t wait to see how long we can keep the streak going! Now it’s time to break a streak of our own next week against Florida! Don’t forget to follow @ukfansallday on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for the latest in UK sports news! Go Cats!