One of the biggest factors in the rise of Kentucky Football has been the Big Blue Wall.
Established by the late John Schlarman, the Wildcats offensive line has consistently been among the team’s biggest strengths. It also perfectly complimented head coach Mark Stoops, who is unquestionably a defensive coach who loves to out-physical teams and win games by controlling the trenches.
Boy did they ever do that Saturday against Florida, who entered the week sporting arguably the best rushing defense in the SEC. They were Pro Football Focus’ 14th-best rush defense overall, and only Alabama (10th) was higher within the conference.
On the other side, Kentucky was still rebuilding the Big Blue Wall after taking a step back in recent years following the passing of Schlarman in 2020 and the one-year rental of Eric Wolford. Having three different offensive line coaches in a three-year span is bound to cause some setbacks, and that’s exactly what happened over the last two years.
Thankfully, it appears Zach Yenser finally has his unit trending in the right direction. While his offensive line showed promise over the first four games, they still had enough struggles to wonder if they would get things back on track this year.
Against Florida, the Big Blue Wall dominated the trenches and helped Ray Davis have a historical performance, going for 280 yards on 26 carries, a scorching 10.8 yards per carry, while also scoring four total touchdowns. Backup running back Demie Sumo-Karngbaye rushed for 32 yards on four carries, and Kentucky finished the game with 329 rushing yards.
As you can imagine, Davis is the talk of the town right now, but even after having the game of his life, the senior back made sure to sing the praises of his offensive linemen.
“Shoutout to those guys. Two things. I wanna thank God, and I wanna thank the Big Blue Wall,” said Davis after the game.
When asked what makes Davis a special running back, he said all credit goes to his o-line.
“The Big Blue Wall. That’s what it is. I had nothing to do with today,” he said. “It was my tight ends and my Big Blue Wall. They’ve been facing a lot of criticism, and honestly, today, they were able to show out and show what we can do. I think we almost rushed for 300 yards.
“So again, it’s all thanks to them, all thanks to God, and thanks to Coach Stoops for letting me come here.
On a day that was full of beautiful sights for Kentucky, perhaps none better summed up the day than the Cats’ first touchdown.
Late in the first quarter with Kentucky in the red zone, Davis caught a pass behind the line of scrimmage, juked out two defenders, then powered through another defender while being dragged into the end zone by Dylan Ray and Eli Cox.
Oh, and we have to mention Kentucky did not allow a sack today, something they’ve not done since the 2021 regular-season finale at Louisville.