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  • Kentucky v Georgia Report Card

    By: Darrell Cartwright

    Kentucky entered today's nationally televised CBS contest against #1 Georgia a 22-point underdog, and licking their wounds after losing to Vanderbilt at Kroger Stadium. Kentucky was shut out until the fourth quarter, but a fourth-quarter touchdown and an opportunity for a field goal that would have brought the game to a one score contest made it entertaining. Here are my thoughts on the Report Card for the game.



    Quarterbacks – B+

    Will Levis' statistics won't bowl you over in today's game, but in cold weather, with the wind blowing hard, he proved to be a gamer. Completing 20-31 passes for 206 yards and one touchdown, he basically doubled his counterpart, Stetson Bennett and his 116 passing yards. A critical interception in the end zone in the first half was the major blight that kept him from bumping his grade up a letter grade. His game rating was 124.5, with Stetson Bennett 109.2.

    Running Backs - C-


    Georgia is a tough team to run on, and today's game was no exception. Rodriguez attempted 17 carries with 51 yards, averaging 3.0 per carry, with a long of 15. Still sporting a turf toe type injury, quarterback Levis prove to be our most effective runner, with 26 yards on five carries, including one sack of –4. Jutahn McClain rushed three times for 12 yards, and overall we were limited to only 89 yards rushing for the game..

    Receivers/TE’s – A-

    Freshman Barion Brown led Kentucky with 10 catches (on 13 targets) for 145 yards, including a deep catch of 47 yards, and one touchdown. He made several catches in traffic, and drew a late pass interference penalty to advance Kentucky and continue to make Kentucky competitive. It was his second 100 yard receiving game for the year. The Tennessee product hopefully can see that he can be showcased at Kentucky, and would love to see him return next season.

    McClain was targeted 7 times, catching 5 for only 1 yard, and no other receiver had more than two catches. Brown's performance alone bumped the grade to the grade you see, particularly in tough conditions.

    Offensive Line – B-


    While we did not execute in our running game, we were facing Georgia and expectations were we were going to run the ball, run the ball at, and run the ball some more. We began doing that, not so effectively, but the line provided perhaps the best pass coverage against a quality team they have provided all season. We allowed only 1 sack (although one was called back because of penalty), and if you had offered that at the beginning of the game (on 31 pass attempts), I think most of us would have taken it in a heartbeat.

    Defensive Line – A

    I'm a numbers guy, and as a result, I sometimes struggle with a quick decision of how these type of positions played without going back and watching the game in more detail. With that caveat in mind, time and time again the line stood up and stopped Georgia on crucial 3rd down and 4th down plays, including a goal line stand at the 1 yard line that inspired Kentucky for a 99-yard touchdown drive as a result. Call me a easy greater if you disagree, and I'm fine with that, but I was pleased.

    Linebackers – A

    Again, you may find my grading a little easier than some, but Jordan Wright had 10 tackles, and Trevin Wallace and D'Eryk Jackson had 8 tackles each. I don't recall a lot of missed tackles, and, as is the case with everything on the defense, I find little to criticize on a game we held Georgia to 16 points.

    Secondary – A-

    While Stetson Bennett hit 68% of his passes (13-19), his rating was only 109.2, passing for only 116 yards. My litmus test is that a quarterback needs to pass for more than 7-8 yards per attempt, and even better needs to approach 10. Bennett was around 6, which tells me that we were effective in our pass defense. Considering the competition, I found this very acceptable. Zion Childress had 9 tackles, Carrington Valentine had 8, and Jordan Lovett managed 7 tackles, plus what could have been a key interception. When I look at the numbers, it almost makes me think the grade was too low, but I just didn't get the field during the game that it was higher than this.

    Special Teams – D+

    Sigh. We began the game on our own 4-yard line with some sort of attempted fair catch that we did not catch, and picked up, constituting a "recovery." Either bad execution, or bad coaching. Will get to that later. We missed our only field goal attempt, a critical play that would have cut the lead to only one score with over 4 minutes to play. Our snapping problems continued, as the ball never rose above a couple of inches off the ground, skipping to the holder (Chance Poore), who did an admiral job of attempting to allow a kick. Matt Ruffalo missed the kick badly, and we continued our woeful efforts the second half of the season, making only 5 of our last 12 field goal attempts. The only thing that saved this grade was Wilson Berry, who punted three times in the game for an average of 46.7 yards per punt, including a long of 53 and one punt downed inside the 20. His punts don't necessarily look pretty, but they were effective, and we needed reasonably good punning today to be competitive. Thrust into action after the season-ending injury to Colin Goodfellow, he has done a very respectful job filling in.

    Coaching – C+

    First, the good. There's a lot to like in a game where we had opportunities to win against the #1 team in the country. And we did have opportunities to win this game. We began the game with a heavy emphasis on running, but when Rodriguez was stopped, we shifted to more of a passing attack. Our offense was never good in the game, and our playcalling, as has been criticized all season, seem to be lacking. But we didn't turn the ball over, other than the one interception, and the players played hard in the game. Based upon things we have heard off the field, motivating the players may have been a difficult task, but they rose to the occasion today and competed.

    The not so good? Well, I alluded already to the playcalling, and the general lack of offense. Of course, our special teams seem to let us down game after game after game, and today was no exception. At some point (long ago, actually), you have to point the finger at the coaching staff for not having this critical portion of the game as effective or more so than the other areas. A fair argument could be made that the poor special-teams play deprived Kentucky of an opportunity to win this game today.

    Honorable mention: I'm not sure I've seen a coach argue like Mark stoops argued about the intentional grounding call against Will Leva's in the fourth quarter and be successful. Until today. If you have ever read my posts from stoops early days, I criticized his lack of composure when a call did not go for him, losing track of what was happening on the field. Today was yet another example of his growth, as I thought that he made the right arguments, forcefully, effectively, but yet continue to coach his team. That didn't happen with this game alone, it has evolved over time, but I thought it was worth mentioning today.
    Comments 5 Comments
    1. Darrell KSR's Avatar
      Darrell KSR -
      Also, I inadvertently left out the runs for Will in his grade, which was part of the consideration.
    1. MickintheHam's Avatar
      MickintheHam -
      For Stoops to lose his only challenge on the opening play of the game is unbelievable! Emotions are a big problem.
    1. ShoesSwayedBlue's Avatar
      ShoesSwayedBlue -
      I just don't understand why the passes were getting out so much quicker today than they had all season. It made all the difference in the world. And UGA is a team that has the athletes to play press man all game long. Whether Levis was convinced , or allowed, to get rid of the ball so soon it should have been done all year long. It made all the difference without so many sacks and the negative, drive killing yards that come with them. Where was this quick game the first 10 games of the season?
    1. MickintheHam's Avatar
      MickintheHam -
      Quote Originally Posted by ShoesSwayedBlue View Post
      I just don't understand why the passes were getting out so much quicker today than they had all season. It made all the difference in the world. And UGA is a team that has the athletes to play press man all game long. Whether Levis was convinced , or allowed, to get rid of the ball so soon it should have been done all year long. It made all the difference without so many sacks and the negative, drive killing yards that come with them. Where was this quick game the first 10 games of the season?
      It was a big surprise to see those passes. I go back to what an alaBama QB told me. He went through 3 OCs in 5 years. It takes about 6 months to get everyone on the same page. And it takes longer than that to get everything to sync.
    1. KentuckyWildcat's Avatar
      KentuckyWildcat -
      Quote Originally Posted by MickintheHam View Post
      For Stoops to lose his only challenge on the opening play of the game is unbelievable! Emotions are a big problem.
      Listening on the radio. The refs really screwed that one up. Did they?


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