The Morning After Analysis: UK vs. Miami Ohio

09/08/2013 10:37 AM

The Good

  • GREAT DEFENSE: This was the brightest spot of the game for Kentucky. After giving up 35 points last week to Western Kentucky, the Wildcats defense locked down. Defensive coordinator DJ Eliot’s squad didn’t give up a single point. The Redhawks only touchdown was on a fumbled punt return. In fact, Miami OH had a touchdown before their offense got a first down. I was incredibly impressed at the defensive pressure, especially Za’Darius Smith. The junior defensive end was constantly in Redhawk QB Austin Boucher’s face, sacking him three times. Two of those three sacks did draw penalties, but I like the moxy from Smith. If he and the rest of the defense can limit opposing offenses, the offense has a chance to score enough points to eek out tough wins.
  • PLAYMAKERS: Javess Blue rush for 21 yards. Jonathan George, 48-yard catch from Maxwell Smith for a touchdown. Javess Blue, 88-yard catch from Smith for another touchdown. Ryan Timmons rush for 21 yards. Anthony Kendrick, 37-yard catch from Smith. Jeff Badet, 56-yard catch from Smith for a touchdown. JoJo Kemp rush for 27 yards. It’s easy to see how the UK offense racked up 675 total yards. Big. Playmakers. When the offense stalled or fell short on a few plays, one of these guys stepped up and made a huge play that not only got the Wildcats a first down but stole momentum for UK.

The Bad

  • INCONSISTENT OFFENSE: Maxwell Smith’s overall pass completion wasn’t horrible, a solid 65.2 percent, but his incompletions weren’t forced and hurried. They were just off, underthrown or overthrown. He did connect on the big plays, and the ground game added nice balance to the tune of 262 yards. Jalen Whitlow was also a nice relief player at quarterback, connecting on 10 of his 12 passes and rushing for 48 yards. But Smith’s incompletions worry me a little, especially since the occurred against Miami Ohio, not exactly an SEC caliber defense. Kentucky has some tough games coming up, where tiny mistakes will mean the difference between a blow out and being competitive and possibly pulling off an upset. Smith just needs to settle down into his position as starting QB. He’s an accurate passer and has the arm strength to connect on the big plays. If he keeps that up against the likes of Louisville, Missouri, and Vanderbilt.
  • PENALTIES: Kentucky committed 11 penalties for 117 yards. That’s a big chunk of field the Cats gave back. Personal fouls, illegal blocks, an ineligible receiver downfield. All signs of a young team that is still working on discipline. An ill-timed penalty can kill a drive and momentum for a team that desperately needs both to stay alive against tough opponents.

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