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Kentucky Wildcats 20, Ohio Bobcats 3: Postmortem

It may have been less glorious than we all hoped, but it was a convincing victory today for the Kentucky Wildcats, who move to 2-0 for the first time since 2011.

Andy Lyons

Well, we were looking for confirmation that this Kentucky Wildcats team was the real thing against a solid but theoretically inferior Ohio Bobcats team. We wound up leaving with a win, but not with the kind of win that is going to send warning signals out to anybody. Part of that was due to a fairly stout Ohio defense — either that, or an inept Kentucky offense that was able to masquerade as explosive against a vastly inferior team. I think it was a little bit of both, maybe, and probably not so much an inept Kentucky offense, but one that just didn’t have a very good day.

Congratulations to the Ohio Bobcats for a very good, physical contest. It wasn’t SEC-physical, perhaps, but this Bobcat team is no pushover, especially on defense. Offensively, Ohio was inconsistent, and Kentucky’s defense better than last week. In the end, they were unable to put more than three points on the board. We thank Ohio for the game, and I think MAC schools are always the best to bring in for an out-of-conference game.

More: Hustle Belt

Box score

More detailed box available here.


  • Did you know Patrick Towles could run like that? I didn’t. I just hope he doesn’t have to do that much running all year, or he’s liable to wind up on the disabled list. Towles ran the ball himself an astounding 22 times for 59 yards. I hope we never see him with more than half that many carries again this season.

  • After a quick touchdown on their first drive, Kentucky’s Air Raid offense slowed down to a very conventional looking pro-set offense out of Air Raid formations. What the heck, over? I mean, it worked fine, I guess, to the extent that Kentucky won the football game, but it makes me believe that UT-Martin was just a bad, bad football team.

  • Jojo Kemp was solid offensively, and had a respectable 41 yards on 9 carries for a 4.6 yard average. Josh Clemons also had a good game, but Stanley "Boom" Williams outdid them all with an explosive touchdown on a 43-yard burst from scrimmage on the second Kentucky possession.

  • The offense looked explosive in the first quarter, and then slowly ground down to a halt in the 4th. That has to change.

  • The offensive line gave up four sacks on Patrick Towles. That’s way too many, and it could have been more but for Towles surprising mobility. Several of the sacks were just blatant failures by both the line and the backfield to pick up an unopposed blitzing linebacker.

  • Ryan Timmons was very workmanlike as a receiver, and I thought he did a great job. He had 10 catches for 95 yards. That’s a solid game.

  • Only Dorian Baker caught more than one pass, other than Timmons. Baker looked really good out there, and so did Blake Bone. Despite that hit that shook him up, Bone had another big play, drawing an interference call.

  • Kentucky’s running back by committee had a solid 232 yards.

  • 402 yards of total offense against a MAC team is not awesome. It’s okay.


  • The secondary looked good for most of the game, but they let a player get behind them for what could have been a big play a couple of times, and a couple more receivers were wide open in space and dropped the ball.

  • The linebacking corps, I thought, played very well today. Josh Forrest was very good, Khalid Henderson was also good, and Blake McClain (I know he’s the nickelback) had a solid game.

  • The defensive line was better, but not really quite good enough. Too many times I thought the Ohio line pushed them around.

  • When Bud Dupree is in the game, Kentucky’s defense is significantly better.

  • Holding Ohio to 223 total yards and three points is pretty good. I’m modestly encouraged by that stat.

  • The defense forced yet another turnover. That’s great to see.

  • A.J. Stamps hits hard, and I would not want to be on the business end of his contact.

Special Teams

  • The kicking game was hit or miss. Austin MacGinnis missed a chip shot, made a 53-yarder, Made a 33-yarder and missed about a 30-yarder. Two for four is not that great.

  • The return game was good, not great. Demarco Robinson did a pretty good job on most returns.

  • Can’t complain about the kickoff team, they put the ball out of the end zone most of the afternoon.


  • Great game by Patrick Towles. He was responsible for 229 yards of Kentucky’s 402 yard total. Impressive. Game ball for the offense. Ryan Timmons was honorable mention along with Dorian Baker.

  • A.J. Stamps gets the defensive game ball with 5 solo tackles, 1 assist, one pass defended. I thought Fred Tiller and Khalid Henderson also played very well.


This was obviously not the 40-10 domination we were all perhaps hoping for, and what it amounts to is an injection of a dose of reality. We suspected coming into the year that this team was a year away, and despite the fact that the Wildcats beat the spread, I still think that’s the case. They could win as many as six games this season, but I am still convinced the high probability is four or five victories.

Make no mistake, Ohio is a quality football team, particularly on defense. They are not SEC caliber, but they are very good, and under the circumstances, I don’t think we can be too hard on Kentucky for not piling up more points. We honestly left six on the table, and arguably ten. I think we’d all be jumping up and down a bit more if the tally was 30-3, and there was that washout in the fourth quarter that made effective offense impossible.

At the same time, I think the Big Blue Nation should take some pride in just how well Kentucky defended, holding the Bobcats to only a field goal. We let UT-Martin, a vastly inferior team, score 14, so I consider that a notable improvement.

So overall, I’m very upbeat about this team and the victory. Next week, we move from the frying pan straight into the blast furnace as we go down to the Swamp for our annual rectal exam by the Florida Gators, who, by the way, nuked Eastern Michigan (another MAC team, definitely worse than Ohio, though) 65-0 today. It is what it is, folks. If we can go down there and just give them a good game, I’d say we might be dangerous. We’ll have to see if the Wildcats have progressed to that point.