Despite losing to Ole Miss on Saturday, the UK offense did not struggle to move the ball and score, as they finished with 41 total points and 559 combined yards. Kentucky senior quarterback Terry Wilson was poised throughout the game, as he finished 14/18 for 151 passing yards as well as having 22 carries for 229 rushing yards and three touchdowns.
The Cats also had two running backs finish with career highs in running the ball with Chris Rodriguez (133 yards) and AJ Rose (129 yards). Combined, the team rushed for 408 yards on 56 attempts, averaging 7.3 yards per carry.
UK offensive coordinator Eddie Gran felt the team did a good job of staying balanced offensively in order to get themselves in the best position to score points.
“You do what the defense gives you, and I think that’s what our kids did this weekend,” he said.
Kentucky sophomore running back Kavosiey Smoke left the game on Saturday with a rib injury, and will be OUT for the next few weeks depending on how much pain he deals with.
His replacement? Eddie Gran said both redshirt freshman Travis Tisdale and true freshman JuTahn McClain will get the opportunity this week to snag the third string spot on the running back depth chart.
“I’m excited about those two youngins’,” he said.
McClain was praised throughout fall camp as a player who the coaches felt was maybe even overachieving, but Tisdale has been consistent since arriving on campus, so it will be an interesting battle between the two this week.
Whether Rodriguez, Rose or one of the freshman, running for big yardage will be a lot more difficult this coming Saturday against Mississippi State, as the Bulldogs have just given up 2.3 yards per rushing attempts so far this season for a total of 71 yards.
In past seasons, that could be attributed to massive bullies up front for Mississippi State, but Eddie Gran said schematically the Bulldog defense is very interchangeable. They might come at you in an all-out blitz and drop in coverage, or vice versa. But, either way, Gran says they’re always moving.
“They do a good job schematically, and they move all the time. There’s never a time where you don’t see movement on that defense,” he said.
If the Cats are dealt with having to throw the ball, quarterback Terry Wilson has proven he is ready for the task. Even though he went just 14/18 against the Rebels, two of those were blatant drops, and he averaged 8.4 yards per pass, showing efficiency that we did not necessarily see in his first season.
Kentucky could end up in another shootout considering how explosive Mississippi State can get offensively, so it will definitely be important that the Cats stay rolling on that side of the ball.