UK’s a top 15 football team this season with one of the best passing game and defense combinations in college football, but last week showed a completely different Kentucky that isn’t top 15 at all.
In fact, it couldn’t beat South Carolina at home. That version of Kentucky doesn’t have a projected top 10 pick at quarterback in Will Levis, who enables Kentucky to pass at will, run at will with star RB Chris Rodriguez, and score despite mistakes or breaks in the offensive line, all behind a clamp-’em-down defense.
Last week Kentucky couldn’t play offense, even though backup Kaiya Sheron wasn’t bad. That was because as soon as Levis was removed from the picture for a backup, it was instantly apparent what they were going to do. Run the ball! Run it again! Throw on 3rd and long! It’ll be sure to get some first downs because of Rodriguez, right?
Well, yeah, like two of them. Then guess what’ll happen?
Punt. Punt. Aaaand another punt.
Kentucky didn’t have any teeth without Levis because they couldn’t throw the usual unpredictable and acrobatic passes and schemes that put points on the board against Florida and Ole Miss—no small feat.
Instead, they had to play poker while their opponent knew exactly what cards they were holding the entire time, and thus easily held them to a paltry 14 points while taking advantage of some mistakes to win by ten.
But remember that this was all because they didn’t have Levis! With Levis, they beat Florida in The Swamp by double-digits. With Levis, they went on the road against Ole Miss and overcame a safety, a blocked PAT, a missed PAT, a missed field goal, and one fumble to come one pass away from a top-15 SEC road win.
With Levis, they can actually play football and are capable of beating just about anybody—especially at home.
So if he’s back this Saturday, there’s no reason to think that they’ll turn in anything like last week’s performance. It’ll be the football school Cats again.