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Kentucky Wildcats Morning Quickies: MSU in the Rear-View Edition

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Kentucky got its first victory of the season versus Mississippi State, and did so despite a lackluster offense. The defense, though, was notably more than enough.

NCAA Football: Mississippi State at Kentucky Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen of the Big Blue Nation, and welcome to the Tuesday Morning Quickies.

As per usual, I’ll offer my thoughts on Saturday’s game against Mississippi State. One thing is for sure, it’s certainly better to offer thoughts on a victory than a defeat. Here we go:

  • The discipline of Kentucky’s secondary against the MSU Air Raid was impressive. Granted, State has yet to master the offense, but it shredded the CFB playoff champs LSU two weeks ago. I can’t say enough about the grim, single-minded determination the Wildcats executed the drop-8 defensive game plan. It was encouraging, to say the least, from the standpoint of how receptive these guys are to coaching.
  • Half the interceptions were on the MSU offense, but give the UK defense credit — they took advantage of the opportunities they had, and caught the footballs that they could catch. The one exception was the goal-line INT by Boogie Watson, which was just an All-American type football play made 100% by pure effort and talent.
  • The defensive line did a credible job of pressure considering the drop-8 defensive plan. Josh Pashchal’s near pick-six was just a great job of reading the situation and making a play. The occasional blitzes were frequent enough to be effective.
  • The offense struggled a bit, but I question the play calling on this one. I thought we threw the ball too much before we established a run game that would allow play-action to be effective. Terry Wilson has a good arm, but he needs more time than he got to look over the defense.
  • Having said the above, I thought the O-line gave it’s worst performance all year in both the run and pass game. Whatever the Bulldogs were using to get a good push up front, it certainly worked, and gives Stoops & Co. something to work on.
  • This was one of the best punting games I have ever seen by both teams. I’m not sure the Bulldogs’ punter wasn’t a little better than Max Duffy in this game, which is really saying something.
  • Matt Ruffolo’s confidence is shaky at best, but at least he made one short field goal. I worry about our field-goal unit, and extra points suddenly have become watch-worthy, which is never good.
  • I liked that we targeted the tight ends so often. That needs to happen more, we have some capable if maybe not outstanding personnel in that position.
  • We must develop more receiving targets than Josh Ali. And once again, dropped footballs were an issue — not as bad as previous games, but still altogether too common.

That’s it for today. Enjoy your Tuesday.

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