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Kentucky Football: Performance Management-The Numbers Don’t Lie

The numbers from Saturday pretty much support the perceptions of our eyes.

Nice catch by Demarco Robinson
Nice catch by Demarco Robinson
Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

I think most UK fans left Nashville with a bad taste in their mouths. Many were expecting to see a disciplined team who would play with enthusiasm and heart. Many feel cheated. Last year’s team lost on a trick play in overtime. This year’s team was simply manhandled and left the field as underachievers.

Those who were predicting 7 or 8 wins this year had a nasty dose of reality dumped in their laps. Those of us who were predicting 4 wins should be doubting our foolishness for being so optimistic considering our schedule for the rest of the season. Stoops,& Company, however, must be given a pass for this year a a first year coach. So, what do the numbers say?

It seems to me that a comparison with last year's game is in order:

Kentucky 2012 2013 Difference
Score 31-32 26-35 -5
First Downs 28 15 -13
Time of Possession 23:53 24:58 1.05
Rushing Attemps 19 32 13
Rushing Yards 41 216 175
Rushing Touchdowns 2 2 -
Passing Attempts 61 28 -33
Pass Completions 37 18 -19
Passes Intercepted 4 0 -4
Passing Yards 332 203 -129
Passing Touchdowns 2 2 -
Total Offensive Plays 80 60 -20
Total Yards 373 419 46
Total Touchdowns 4 4 -
3rd Down Conversions 9 of 16 6 of 15 -3 of -1
Fumbles Lost 0 1 -1
Field Goals 1 2 1

The running game has improved.

Question: What Air Raid?

At the national level, here's where we stand statistically in the NCAA (per game stats and National Rank):


Rushing Offense: 216 (t-37th)

Passing Offense: 203 (66th)

Passing Efficiency: 136.97 (57th)

Red Zone Offense: 100% (t-1st)

Scoring Offense: 26 (t-64th)

Total Offense: 419 (t-57th)

Tackles for Loss Allowed: 9 (t-100th)

Sacks Allowed: 3 (t-81st)

Time of possession: 24:58 (98th)

3rd Down Conversion %: 40% (t-56th)

4th Down Conversion %: 100% (t-1st)

First Downs: 15 (t-88th)


Rushing Defense: 216 (t-88th)

Passing Defense: 271 (79th)

Scoring Defense: 35 (t-82nd)

Passing Efficiency Defense: 156.1 (84th)

Passes Intercepted: 0 (No Ranking)

Tackles for Loss: 3 (t-92nd)

Sacks: 1 (t-59)

Total Defense: 487 (t-87th)

3rd Down Conversion %: 20% (t-14th)

4th Down Conversion %: 100% (t- 34th)

First Downs: 22 (t-69th)


Fewest Penalty Yards: 69 (83rd)

Fewest Penalties: 10 (t-101st)

Turnover Margin: 1 (t-22nd)

Net Punting: 33.33 (86th)

Punt Returns: 27 (3rd)

Punt Return Defense: 4.25 (62nd)

Kickoff Returns: 24.67 (28th)

Kickoff Return Defense: 20.5 (t-58)

Early last month, Neal Brown talked about his expectations:

Plays per game: 75

3rd Down Conversion Rate: 48%

1st Down yards: 4 or more yards

Saturday's plays: 60

3rd Down Conversion Rate: 40%

1st Down yards: 43.5% 4 or more yards - not including Timmons 33yd run where he fumbled.

The eye tests have been discussed on every UK related web site, so there is no use discussing it further. The numbers tell their own story. Look for improvement next week against Miami (OH). While one game does not make a season, Kentucky's schedule is murderous. Illusions of beating Louisville were flushed down the toilet with our loss to WKU and Louisville's drive by of Ohio. The possibilities of victories diminished with the WKU loss when you look at how our future opponents performed this weekend. Probabilities are down to three: Miami, Alabama St. and Missouri because all are home games. Missouri might just be a possibility.

The good news is that most Kentucky fans had low expectations with this team because they knew Stoops would have a difficult road. It seems our 2014 recruiting class had the same expectations and are excited about being a part of the turnaround.