You have to excuse me this morning. I’m writing this post while listening to SEC teams' fight songs and operating off 3 cups of Army Joe,
or highly caffeinated coffee. Fact of the matter is, I’m fired freakin' up. Stories of courage and passion get me this way. More on that later.
The team that wins the game on Saturday will do so in uncharacteristic fashion. I’ve said that several times this week. Let’s take a statistical look at what that statement means:
3rd Down Conversions
Kentucky Defense: Allows 57.69% conversion ratio, 30/52
South Carolina Offense: 15/45, 33.33%
Long Scrimmage Plays
Kentucky Defense: Allowed 52 plays of 10+ yards
South Carolina Offense: 33 plays of 10+ yards
Kentucky Defense: Allows 28.7 per game
South Carolina Offense: 15 per game
Kentucky Defense: Allowing 73.33% touchdowns
South Carolina Offense: 50% TDs
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="960"] PICTURE BY THESTATE.COM
What does all this mean?
-- The Wildcats cannot allow 5+ yard plays on 1st down.
South Carolina mustn’t be afforded the luxury of comfort by getting ahead of the chains. If it does, momentum and confidence will favor true freshman QB Brandon Mcilwain.
-- UK has to force turnovers.
The Cats have 3 players tied for first in the SEC’s INT column. An early pick would resonate.
-- Somehow, someway Kentucky’s front 7 must overachieve.
If not, then it will be the South Carolina offense that “gets right” on Saturday.
-- Emotion, effort, grit, and desire have to favor Kentucky
. If defensive mistakes are made, then it would be refreshing to see it done so with defenders playing each snap as if it were their last. No read and react; no overthinking. Simply attack, attack, and attack more. I need more coffee!!!!
I attended Thursday night’s statue unveiling. I wanted to run through a wall afterwards. I looked around trying to find a 47-year old defender to truck. I’m not completely crazy and would have only taken on an opponent of my same age category. Paramedics would have been necessary, and busy afterwards.
I’m not referencing a false sense of motivation displayed by senseless jumping up and down in the tunnel. I mean the feeling of complete focus on task that drives desire. If maximum hunger is not on full display in front of Rich Brooks, Wesley Woodyard, Nate Northington, Mel Page, and Houston Hogg then statistics are mere eye wash.
Like it or not and mostly by self-infliction, Kentucky’s backs are against the proverbial wall.
Simple explanation really: whichever unit (Kentucky defense or South Carolina offense) uncharacteristically exceeds statistical norms will win the football game.
Saturday night in Commonwealth Stadium offers the perfect opportunity for UK’s defense to “get right.” There’s no spin or opinion in statistics. Carolina’s offense has been equally as porous as the Cats' D.
Let’s tee it up.