UK Football

Game notes

Cats to 'pony' up

The University of Kentucky offense may have discovered at Mississippi State that the best way to ignite its struggling running game is to ride the pony.

Kentucky went to its "pony" backfield in the second half, and it helped spark the offense to touchdowns on its first two drives. The pony featured freshman Randall Cobb lined up in the shotgun with a two-tailback set of Alfonso Smith and Tony Dixon.

The alignment allowed Cobb to read the defense and either keep the ball or pitch it to Smith or Dixon on either side. Both tailbacks can also be utilized as receivers out of the backfield.

"It's really nothing more than the triple option," UK offensive coordinator Joker Phillips said.

Once the Mississippi State defense had to account for Cobb and the tailbacks on the perimeter, the middle of the field opened up.

"We were able to hit them a couple of times inside because (the Mississippi State defense) had to start widening things," Phillips said. "It also opens things up for screens. We got a lot of things accomplished out of that set."

Phillips said the pony backfield seemed to re-invigorate Dixon, who ran for a season-high 66 yards on 12 carries.

"I think that helped Tony," Phillips said. "He's a better zone-read runner, and I think the pony allows him to see things a little better. He ran as good as he's run in a long time around here."

Future QBs in attendance

UK recruit Morgan Newton will be at Commonwealth Stadium on Saturday. Newton's Carmel High team faced Harrison in an Indiana Class 4A sectional final on Friday night. Last week, Newton rushed for 96 yards on 12 carries while going 10-for-12 passing for 105 yards in Carmel's 44-21 over Lafayette Jeff. Kentucky's other quarterback recruit, Ryan Mossakowski of Texas, will also attend the Georgia game. Mossakowski is scheduled to undergo surgery next week to repair a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder.

Chip Cosby