Kentucky has an offense with big play capability. That has shown through loud and clear against WKU (which got a dose of reality at Tennessee) and Miami.
It was good to hear the Air Raid siren again. It has been far too long since we've heard it. After two games, Neal Brown has still not completely unleashed the Air Raid. The Cats have run 71 plays on the ground and 63 plays through the air for a 53-47 percent ratio. The ground game has worked and an opposing defense can't be sure what either Smith or Whitlow is going to do on any particular given play.
Kentucky also showed vast improvement on defense. Players kept their assignments and held their gaps. Miami was unable to score against the boys in blue. Even more impressive, for me, was that Stoops and Eliot changed the defense on the spot after watching Miami warm up. When was the last time that's happened?
Za'Darius Smith leads the nation in sacks and he's tied for 9th in Tackles for Loss. Max Smith and Jalen Whitlow earned SEC helmet stickers from ESPN. Kevin Mitchell was named SEC Offensive Lineman of the week. Max Smith ranks 9th in Passing Efficiency. For individual stats, you can go to the UK Athletics site. You will be impressed with the first year players (freshmen and JUCOs).
Some stats you may not be aware of:
Last year, only 21 teams put up more than our 675 total yards and only 22 teams had more than UK's 9.1 yards per play, according to "Virginia Blue" @ WCN who keeps stats on 2,764 teams over 1,382 games. He also points out the only 2 teams allowed their opponents fewer yards per play than did UK's defense today and only 4 teams allowed their opponents fewer total yards in a single game. You can read his post by clicking on the link.
Kentucky showed improvement in almost every statisical category. Here's where we stand statistically in the NCAA (stats & national rank).
Rushing Offense: 239 (t-32nd) Improved from 37th last week
Passing Offense: 308 (25th) Improved from 66th last week
Passing Efficiency: 171.34 (23rd) Improved from 57th last week
Red Zone Offense: 88.9% (t-48th) Dropped from 1st last week thanks to the knee
Scoring Offense: 33.5 (t-55th) Improved from 64th last week
Total Offense: 547 (t-16th) That's a jump from 57th last week
Tackles for Loss Allowed: 10 (t-72nd) Improved from 100th last week
Sacks Allowed: 1.5 (t-44th) Improved from 81st last week
Time of possession: 27:00 (100th) Dropped from 98th last week thanks to the knee
3rd Down Conversion %: 38.5% (71st) Dropped from 56th last week
4th Down Conversion %: 100% (t-1st) No Change
First Downs: 42 (t-55th) Improved from 88th last week
Rushing Defense: 157.5 (70th) Improved from 88th last week
Passing Defense: 147 (21st) Improved from 79th last week
Scoring Defense: 21 (t-47th) Improved from 82nd last wee4
Passing Efficiency Defense: 122.9 (64th) Improved from 88th last week
Passes Intercepted: 0 (No Ranking) No Change
Tackles for Loss: 5.0 (t-78th) Improved from 92nd last week
Sacks: 3.50 (t-10th) Improved from 59th last week
Total Defense: 304.5 (30th) Improved from 87th last week
3rd Down Conversion %: 11.5% (2nd) Improved from14th last week
4th Down Conversion %: 66.7% (t- 48th) Dropped from 34th last week
First Downs: 30 (t-34th) Improved from 69th last week
Fewest Penalty Yards: 93 (t-120th) Dropped from 83rd last week
Fewest Penalties: 10.5 (120th) Dropped from 101st last week
Turnover Margin: 0 (t-58th) Dropped from 22nd last week
Net Punting: 32.18 (105th) Dropped from 86th last week
Punt Returns: 8.7 (47th) Dropped from 3rd last week
Punt Return Defense: 9.86 (88th) Dropped from 62nd last week
Kickoff Returns: 26.00 (27th) Improved from 28th last week
Kickoff Return Defense: 23.00 (t-82nd) Dropped from 58th last week
Early last month, Neal Brown talked about his expectations:
Plays per game: 75
3rd Down Conversion Rate: 48%
on 1st Down: 4 or more yards
Saturday's plays: 74
3rd Down Conversion Rate: 38.5%
1st Down yards: 4 or more yards has occurred 63.89% of first down plays. We've run the ball 23 times on first down and have passed 19 times.
All things considered, the Miami game was a much needed shot in the arm.