Kentucky Wildcats 27 Central Michigan Chippewas 13: Postmortem

Well that was fun wasn't it?  The day after FIU knocked down Louisville, Kentucky came close to finding itself on the wrong side of the scoreboard in one of those "guarantee games."  Kudos to the Chippewas who came into Commonwealth Stadium and played terrific football and made Kentucky fans very, very nervous for most of the game.

In his interview with Hustle Belt, Glenn mentioned the possibility of a hangover from the Western Kentucky game and we may have seen that in the first half today.  Or maybe it was just more of the same blahs from last Thursday.  Or maybe they were just nervous playing in front of Randall Cobb.  Either way it wasn't pretty, at least on the offensive end.  The defense did enough to keep the team in the game though and despite all the trouble the Cats were only down 7 going into halftime.

The defense really clamped down in the 2nd half, forcing a punt after Raymond Sanders fumbled the ball on the kickoff and making a HUGE 4th down stop to set up Kentucky's first touchdown of the day - a beautifully thrown pass from Morgan Newton to La'Rod King.  From there it was all Kentucky as the Cats seized the momentum and never allowed CMU to retake it.

A few thoughts from the game:

  • If the first two games are any indication, Kentucky is going to have to win games with its defense this year.  So far they've been up to the task.
  • The running attack was on target today: 126 yards and a TD for Josh Clemons, 62 yards for Raymond Sanders (on only eight carries), and 43 yards for Newton.
  • The passing game was not on target as Newton missed a gimme TD in the first half and was only 9-18 for the game.  That's still an improvement over Thursday (7-18, 3 INTs), so I guess that's good.
  • Josh Clemons is awesome.
  • I loved the call to go for it on 4th and goal.  Be aggressive and put the game away when the opportunity presents itself.  Going forward, with the way the defense has played this call should be automatic every game. 

In the end, UK played better than they did against Western Kentucky and that's what you want to see early in the season.  Up next are the Louisville Cardinals.  With Florida, @LSU, and @South Carolina coming up, the Cats need a win next week to ensure no worse than a 3-3 record in the first half of the season.

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