That was ugly, but it was a win. The loss against Florida was obviously still on the player’s minds as they never really seemed energized. While the game was frustrating, at least we’re not Tennessee (lost to Georgia 41-0) or LSU (lost to Troy 24-21). The Cats improved to 4-1 which is a huge improvement from last season when Kentucky was 2-3 at this point. Here’s my takeaways from the game!
1. O-Line has to Improve
How is Stephen Johnson walking today? The Kentucky quarterback took four gruesome hits which one turned in to a fumble. There also wasn’t very many holes for Benny Snell and company to run through. On the day Kentucky only had 53 rushing yards which is around 100 yards less than their season average. Hopefully during the bye week, John Schlarman can re-evaluate the O-Line and make needed improvements.
2. Lynn Bowden has to get the Ball More
Lynn Bowden makes plays…period. The former four star prospect has shown flashes of being one of the most explosive players on the team. Bowden has patiently waited to get his shot and while he’s played more, I still believe it’s not enough. His ability to make defenders miss has resulted in turning nothing into something with making what looks like a 2 yard gain, into an 11 yard gain. If Eddie Gran can find a way to get him more touches, it could take the top off the defense.
3. Josh Allen is a BEAST
The blitz bros (Josh Allen and Denzil Ware) have been impressive this season. The one I want to focus on is the former two star prospect, Josh Allen. Allen had 7 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, and 2 sacks vs Eastern Michigan and was easily the best player on the field yesterday. Another impressive stat by Allen is that he has more sacks than the ENTIRE Alabama defense. If Allen can keep up this pace, I’d expect him to be mentioned in a lot of award races at the end of the year!
4. Rush Defense is our Strength
Coming into the year, everyone thought it would be our pass defense that would be the strength of the defense. So far this season, that’s been the opposite as Kentucky is in the top 10 in rush defense. Against Eastern Michigan, the Cats only allowed 13 yards rushing. That number is impressive no matter who the opponent is. I expect the secondary to finally get it together at one point which will result in one of the best defenses in the SEC!
5. Special Teams was CRUCIAL in the Win
Thank you, special teams. Without the effort they put out, the result of the game may have been very different. Matt Panton once again had a great day punting including a long of 71 yards which resulted in putting EMU at the one-yard-line. Kentucky was also able to recover a muffed punt which resulted in a field goal. Then maybe in the most important play of the game, Josh Paschal blocked a punt which would result in a Benny Snell touchdown.
There’s obviously a lot that needs to be improved but at the end of the day, a win is a win. You want to see Kentucky dominate a team like this but you have to take into account how much energy was drained out of them after the Florida game. Energy shouldn’t be an issue this week as Kentucky gets back into SEC play. Kentucky’s next game is this Saturday against Missouri. The game is at Kroger Field and is set to kickoff at 7:30 pm ET on the SEC Network.
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