Kentucky Football Reality: Wildcats' Numbers For The Florida Game

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

The Florida game looked somewhat better to the eye than the numbers indicate

Before the season started, I was hoping for four wins. I also pointed out that we could go 2-10 again. I don’t think too many were more optimistic than that. I know some (a few) were predicting as many as eight wins and others (a few) were predicting a bowl game. I hope those folks haven’t bet on the games. The Florida game brought us reality, and reality bites.

Florida showed us just how difficult the job that Stoops and his staff have, especially on offense. When your leading rusher for the game is the kicker, Joe Mansour, there are problems along the line of scrimmage. I didn't know Mansour had that much speed! I understand that was Joe's first touchdown since the eighth grade. Good for him.

Kentucky hasn't had an SEC caliber quarterback since Mike Hartline went down in 2010. I suggested earlier in the week that Smith and Whitlow would get the "deer in the headlights" look before Murphy would. Sadly, I was right. Our offensive line play made their jobs tough. There were far too many missed assignments.

Kentucky held Florida under 30 points for the first time since 2006 (UF 26 UK 7). Of course, Florida's offense isn't geared to scoring a lot of points this year. Still, they scored 38 on us last year, if you'll recall. The Miami game showed us what the offense can be capable of, but the other three games showed us something as well. On offense, eleven men have to execute in order to be successful.

Kentucky still hasn't scored in the third quarter this year.

I don't understand why Kemp didn't see more action. That puts me in the same boat as KSR.

So, what do the numbers say? Sources UK and the NCAA.

Offense:

Rushing Offense: 172.0 (64) down from 213.3 (t-39) 2012 Rank 138.75 (87)

Passing Offense: 238.8 (58) down from 276.7 (35) 2012 Rank 176.25 (102)

Passing Efficiency: 134.7 (65) down from 144.22 (39) 2012 Rank 108.62 (111)

Red Zone Offense: 73.3% (100) down from 78.6% (t-83) 2012 Rank N/A

Scoring Offense: 21.8 (94) down from 26.7 (75) 2012 Rank 17.92 (116)

Total Offense: 410.8 (62) down from 490 (t-25) 2012 Rank 315.00 (113)

Tackles for Loss Allowed: 26 (t-75) down from16 (49) 2012 Rank N/A

Sacks Allowed: 2.50 (t-97) down from 1.67 (t-63) 2012 Rank 2.17 (75)

Time of possession: 25 (117) down from 26 (110) 2012 Rank N/A

3rd Down Conv. %: 23.4% (119) down from 25.6% (t-117) 2012 Rank N/A

4th Down Conv. %: 66.7% (t-21) down from 80.0% (t-11) 2012 Rank N/A

First Downs: 71 (t-108) down from 59 (t-97) 2012 Rank N/A

We may be stinking up the place on offense, but we are, in fact, better than last year. Concern should be focused on Time of Possession, 3rd Down Conversions, Red Zone Offense, getting First Downs and First Down Offense.

Defense

Rushing Defense: 200.8 (100) down from 185.7 (88) 2012 Rank 161.25 (62)

Passing Defense: 175.0 (18) up from 181.3 (30) 2012 Rank 229.75 (57)

Scoring Defense: 23.3 (52) up from 23.0 (56) 2012 Rank 31.00 (85)

Passing Efficiency Defense: 136.90 (83) down from 130.65 (70) 2012 Rank 146.56 (100)

Passes Intercepted: 1 (t-112) up from 0 (no ranking) 2012 Rank N/A

Tackles for Loss: 4.1 (112) up from 4.0 (t-111) 2012 Rank 4.42 (105)

Sacks: 2.25 (t-34) down from 2.67 (t-25) 2012 Rank 2.17 (49)

Total Defense: 375.8 (52) down from 367.0 (49) 2012 Rank 391.00 (59)

3rd Down Conv. %: 32.7% (32) down from 23.1% (6) 2012 Rank: N/A

4th Down Conversion %: 80.0% (t-114) down from 66.7% (t-87) 2012 Rank: N/A

First Downs: 74 (t-36) down from 52 (t-20) 2012 Rank: N/A

The defense has managed to improve in some areas in spite of having no help from the offense. Since Florida isn't a passing team, our numbers look better. However, when Florida did choose to pass, they were successful more often than not.

Other

Fewest Penalty Yards: 61.25 (95) improved from 73.3 (t-111) 2012 Rank N/A

Fewest Penalties: 7.0 (t-89) improved from 8.33 (t-113) 2012 Rank N/A

Turnover Margin: -.5 (t-92) Improved from -.7 (t-100) 2012 Rank N/A

Net Punting: 33.89 (105) improved from 33.13 (111) 2012 Rank 39.46 (18)

Punt Returns: 7.82 (64) dropped from 7.82 (58) 2012 Rank N/A

Punt Return Defense: 8.63 (75) improved from 8.63 (t-77) 2012 Rank N/A

Kickoff Returns: 25.73 (18) "improved" from 26.40 (20) 2012 Rank N/A

Kickoff Return Defense: 18.45 (25) improved from 18.90 (39) 2012 Rank N/A

We are seeing slow improvement in the "other" areas as the team becomes more disciplined. Our special teams scored the lone touchdown on the "Mad Hatter's" fake field goal. Stoops and Brown showed some trickery that we've not seen in a long while.

Early in August, Neal Brown talked about his expectations:

Plays per game: 75

3rd Down Conversion Rate: 48%

1st Down yards: 4 or more yards

Actual

Saturday's plays: 47

3rd Down Conversion Rate: 12.5%

1st Down yards: 44% 4 or more yards (7 of 16)

The schedule doesn't get any easier, but I don't think we'll face a better defense than what we saw Saturday night. For those who "feel something in the air," Kentucky is going to have to get more than 48 rushing yards and do better that 173 yards in total offense for the "something" to be meaningful. Like I said above, reality bites.

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