Monday Morning Offensive Breakdown (BTI's Rants and Ramblings)
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Monday Morning Offensive Breakdown (BTI's Rants and Ramblings)

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LEXINGTON, KY - NOVEMBER 20: Kentucky Wildcats running back Chris Rodriguez Jr. (24) stiff arms New Mexico State Aggies defensive back D.J. McCullough (7) in a game between the New Mexico State Aggies and the Kentucky Wildcats on November 20, 2021, at Kroger Field in Lexington, KY. (Photo by Jeff Moreland/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Look, the Offensive Breakdown realizes the reality is that New Mexico State was simply a warmup game for this weekend against Louisville. And their defense played the part, basically letting Kentucky do whatever they wanted and hopefully get the playbook buckled in for Saturday. The Cats showed explosiveness both on the ground and through the air and, besides turnovers, showed a scoring ability not seen under Mark Stoops.

So for the analysis of the game, instead of focusing on New Mexico State, I will explain what the Cats need to do against Louisville based on what they’ve done this season in down and distance.

Enjoy:

1ST DOWN

Against New Mexico State
Rush: 21 rushes for 177 yards, 3 TD (2 fumbles)
Pass: 13-18, 217 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT

Combined Season Stats
Rush: 193 rushes for 1117 yards, 10 TD (5 fumbles)
Pass: 95-138, 1220 yards, 13 TD, 8 INT (3 sacks allowed)

Analysis: First off, what a wild set of stats. The Offensive Breakdown can’t remember a weirder set of stats. Almost 400 yards of offense just on first down, with 6 touchdowns scored. But also 3 turnovers. Nonetheless, the performance on 1st down has correlated to better offensive games all season. When Kentucky gets chunk plays and puts themselves in 2nd and short situations, they become very dangerous. Against Louisville, I am shooting for 5-6 yards per play on 1st down.

2ND DOWN

Against New Mexico State
Rush: 10 rushes for 48 yards (1 fumble)
Pass: 7-10, 128 yards (1 sack allowed)

Combined Season Stats
Rush: 129 rushes for 885 yards, 8 TD (3 fumbles lost)
Pass: 61-97, 675 yards, 4 TD, 1 INT (4 sacks allowed)

Analysis: Kentucky has been efficient on 2nd down most of the season. The completion percentage is high and the rushing stats have been solid. They’ve been less explosive on 2nd down than other situations but been more consistent too. My hope for the Louisville game is when facing 2nd and 4 or less, Kentucky converts a 1st down 75% of the time. When facing 2nd and 5 or more, you have to have a positive play to get to 3rd and short, where Kentucky is deadly.

3RD DOWN AND LONG (6 YARDS AND MORE)

Against New Mexico State
Rush: 1 rush for 14 yards (converted 1 of 1)
Pass: 3-5, 52 yards (converted 3 of 5)

Combined Season Stats
Rush: 10 rushes for 89 yards (converted 4 of 10)
Pass: 33-50, 470 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT, 3 sacks allowed (converted 22 of 53)

Analysis: Now look, it’s Vandy and New Mexico State, but Kentucky has been converting these 3rd and long at a great rate the last two games. These can be backbreaking for an opponent. With Louisville’s defense struggling, the hope would be Kentucky converts a few more of these on Saturday. If they do, look for the points to pile up. The Offensive Breakdown is also encouraged by Will Levis’ scrambling abilities and look for him to use his legs effectively against Louisville.

3RD DOWN AND SHORT (5 YARDS OR LESS)

Against New Mexico State
Rush: 2 rushes for 16 yards (converted 1 of 2)
Pass: 1-1, 62 yards, 1 TD (converted 1 of 1)

Combined Season Stats
Rush: 34 rushes for 134 yards, 1 TD (converted 24 of 34)
Pass: 18-26, 164 yards, 4 TD, 4 sacks allowed (converted 15 of 30)

Analysis: Didn’t face many of these against New Mexico State but the long touchdown pass was encouraging because Kentucky has struggled through the air on 3rd and short. They only sit at 50% for the season now but have been improving for about a month. I predict a key 3rd and 4 or 5 late in the game that Will Levis will have to complete a key pass for. Will the Cats be able to get it done? We shall see but the Offensive Breakdown is confident.

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