Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Western Kentucky linebacker Andrew Jackson played like a star on the field last night in his team's 14-3 loss to Kentucky, recording 12 tackles (two of them for loss) and a sack. But he talked like a star on the sidelines, too, giving us this memorable summary of the Wildcats' toothless performance:
They supposed to be SEC. That's right, Andrew, but in no way, shape, or form did the Wildcats look like an SEC team last night, wheezing their way to the most uncomfortable of victories over a Hilltopper team that -- while expected to be much-improved over last year's 2-10 team -- is still believed to be a mid-to-lower level Sun Belt squad.
Here's a breakdown of the Wildcats' Thursday night mediocrity, by the numbers:
44 -- Number of yards by which Kentucky was outgained. By Western Kentucky.
35, 75 -- Number of total yards the Wildcat offense had gained by halftime and through three quarters, respectively. Against Western Kentucky.
3.7 -- Kentucky's offensive yards-per-play. (Against Western Kentucky.) If stretched over a full season, this number would have ranked the Wildcats dead last in the FBS last year.
5.4, 3.7 -- UK quarterback Morgan Newton's yards-per-attempt, and his yards-per-attempt if his 31-yard fourth-quarter touchdown pass is removed from the calculation. (Against Western Kentucky.) If stretched over a full season, the 5.4 number would have ranked Kentucky 115th in the FBS last year.
3-to-1-to-0 -- Newton's ratio of interceptions to touchdown passes to first quarter completions against Western Kentucky.
2.8, 1.1 -- Kentucky's average yards per-carry, and their average yards per-carry on the 32 attempts that weren't Newton's game-saving 58-yard fourth-quarter scramble on 3rd-and-12. Against Western Kentucky.
45.9 -- Eye-popping net yards per-punt on seven attempts by Wildcat punter Ryan Tydlacka, the hands-down Wildcat MVP of the win.
That is, unless you want to cruelly name Hilltopper QB Kajuan Jakes the Wildcats' MVP; Jakes suffered through a 9-of-27, four-interception nightmare, one that included a second-quarter overthrow of a wide-open tight end in the end zone. Complete that, and WKU goes up 10-0 ... and the way the Wildcat offense was operating, maybe powers home to the victory.
We asked yesterday if the Wildcats could find some playmakers left behind from their 2010 exodus, and on the balance of last night, they don't have one, much less "playmakers," plural. Even having put a "1" in the win column, as Jackson said, Kentucky was supposed to look like an SEC team last night. And what they looked like was a team that might have a rough go of it in the Sun Belt.
Video by SportsGrid. HT: TeamSpeedKills.