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Kentucky Football: Comparison Of A Few Key Statistics

This Kentucky team is looking a lot better than the last two years, and maybe even better than we expected to see so soon.

Rob Foldy

One of the things I like to look at after three games are some of the national rankings of the Kentucky Wildcats so far. These things don’t really mean a tremendous amount at this point in the season since they are usually padded by a couple of weaker teams and often go down from here. But the first quarter of the season is as good place as any to stop briefly and take stock. So here’s Kentucky’s position for a few key statistics, both good and bad, courtesy of

  • Scoring offense: 48th. Kentucky finished 108 in that stat last season, and 119th in 2012. It has to fall a long way to get to that level.

  • Rushing offense: 55th. Last season 86th, 2012 - 89th.

  • Passing offense: 22nd. Last season 100th, 2012 - 106th. Incredible improvement, and really the biggest difference offensively.

  • Scoring defense: 26th. 90th last season, 86th in 2012.

  • Rushing defense: 73rd. 94th last season, 63rd in 2012. Definitely an area that needs improvement.

  • Passing defense: 53rd. 64th last season and 58th in 2012. Again, defense is an area that Kentucky needs improvement, both against the run and the pass.

  • Turnover margin: T17th. Last season T61st, 2012 - T80th. This is the stat that was always so good on some of Kentucky’s better football teams under Rich Brooks.

  • Long scrimmage plays: 35th. last season, T101st, 2012 - 104th. Kentucky seems more explosive these days, and the numbers so far bear that out.

  • Long passing plays: T29th. Last year, T99th, 2012 - 106th.

  • Passes defended: T27th. Last year, 117th, 2012 - T110th.

Keep in mind that most of these numbers will probably get worse as we get into the SEC season against better foes. Some of them will wind up even worse than last year, but I think most of them will be much, much better. This Kentucky team is by no means great, and given that UK is the best team Florida has played, we really don’t know how good the Gators are that we gave such a test to in the Swamp last Saturday.

I suppose it goes without saying that I’m hoping Florida gives Alabama a real headache this weekend. That would give us more hope that what we are seeing is real, and not driven by mediocre competition. But even without that, this Kentucky football team is noticeably faster, noticeably jauntier, and is showing the kind of confidence winning football teams display, even if the reality of having a winning season this year still seems a bit of a long shot.

We had to go through a lot to get back here, but finally this team seems to be genuinely moving in the right direction. The offense is light-years ahead of last season in terms of execution, the defense is beginning to look like they can get off the field rather than spend the entire game on it. Its a very refreshing thing to see.

Yes, things will likely get ugly from time to time; playing SEC teams week in and week out are bound to produce some disappointment with a team this young. Having said that, the talent out there is beginning to have an impact, and as the team gets deeper, that’s just going to continue.