Joe Mussatto over at SEC Country released their SEC report cards for week 3 earlier today, and to no one's surprise, the Cats are struggling with their grade in defense. The offense and the special teams both showed up for the Wildcats this week, earning better grades, but coaching and defense continued to bring in less than stellar grades.
The offense came in with its best grade of the season, receiving an A. Behind big performances from Stephen Johnson, Boom Williams, Benny Snell, and CJ Conrad, the Kentucky offense was as good as its been in a long time. Granted it was against New Mexico State, but production is production and we'll take it. Here's what our report card said:
Things looked bleak for UK after a Barker injury and a three-and-out to start the game, but Johnson composed the offense and it was off and running from there. He passed for 310 yards and 3 scores. Junior Boom Williams rushed for 181 yards and averaged more than a first down per carry. Snell, making his backfield debut, scored four times and had 136 yards.
Staying on the good side of the report card, special teams earned an A-, which is something UK fans have not grown accustomed to in recent years. Charles Walker returned a punt for a TD, the first special teams touchdown for UK since Randall Cobb did it against WKU in 2010 (Freddie Maggard called it y'all, he really did).
Junior WR Charles Walker’s punt return for a touchdown was the highlight, but the coverage teams were solid and freshman Grant McKinniss averaged 47.5 yards per punt.
The GPA started to drop off here. The defense scored a lousy D-, literally the lowest score you can get with out receiving an outright F. I'm not really sure what else needs to be said at this point about the UK defense. Stoops was said to be taking control of the defense this week and it was arguably worse than before, giving up 500 yards of total offense and 42 points to New Mexico State. Right now, UK's defense is that class we all struggled with on the first exam but thought we would improve by the second exam, only to realize that we really hadn't made any of the changes in our study patterns to get better.
UTEP and New Mexico held New Mexico State to fewer points in a game than UK did for one half. The Aggies had 500 yards of offense and averaged 5 yards per carry – all without the help of all-conference running back Larry Rose.
You can check out the rest of the scores on UK's report card from SEC Country here