The first thing that struck me about this game is ... we won! Yes, I know that it's somewhat unseemly to celebrate a victory over an FCS team too much, but this was a good FCS team and what so far has been a loathsome Kentucky offense. But not today.
First things first. Nice effort by the Jacksonville St. Gamecocks. They came into Kentucky's stadium and played well in stretches, and displayed an uncommon amount of toughness for an FCS school. That's probably why they are ranked so highly in FCS, and they kept this game in doubt, though not too much doubt, well into the second half. They engineered one outstanding long drive for a touchdown and ran back a kickoff for their second score.
Joker Phillips, to his credit, took no chances with this football game. He did what every FBS coach wants to do when facing an FCS team -- run the football and let the much larger FBS lines push the little guys around. That's exactly what happened on both sides of the football. The Kentucky offensive line had an excellent day overall blocking both the run and the pass, and the Kentucky defensive line was in the backfield of the Gamecocks all day long.
- Kentucky is still struggling to take care of the football, turning it over twice. They had three takeaways, but the turnovers are really hurting the Wildcats.
- Morgan Newton Made some nice throws today, but with only 105 yards passing, it was hardly a big day. He did do a very good job running the football, except for a fumble on the second UK possession of the day.
- CoShik Williams was great today, gaining 148 yards and averaging almost 7 yards per carry.
- Raymond Sanders is injured yet again. Durability is definitely an issue for UK's backs.
- La'Rod King had a very good day receiving, 5 catches for 84 yards and 2 touchdowns. He represented nearly the entire receiving offense of the Wildcats. Matt Roark caught 2 for 12 yards.
- 445 yards represents by far the high water mark for UK offensively this season.
- Winston Guy led all defenders in tackles today with 10 unassisted and 12 total, but he also dropped two interceptions and Cartier Rice dropped one. Danny Trevathan had only 5 tackles.
- Those who were expecting something new from the offense were disappointed. What we got was exactly the same as we have seen all season, executed better.
This is one of those games that will give Kentucky partisans a sliver of hope, but most other observers will rightly greet these results with a yawn. UK will now move back into SEC play where the size and talent is a lot greater, namely against the Mississippi St. Bulldogs next weekend. But for now, I'll take this result. For the most part, UK looked like an FBS team in handling the Gamecocks with relative ease.