Eddie Gran: A good day's work
In addition to My column, three more things from Kentucky’s 35-21 win over Missouri.
1. Let’s hear it for the offensive line
Yeah, yeah, yeah, “The Boom and Benny Show” was spectacular Saturday at Faurot Field. Freshman Benny Snell carried the football a ridiculous 38 times for an equally ridiculous 192 yards. Boom Williams, who popped 60 yards for the game’s first touchdown, zigged and zagged for 182 yards on 19 carries.
But, hey, let’s give a little credit to the guys up front, i.e. John Schlarman’s offensive line. And we’re not just talking about Saturday. Kentucky’s 382 rushing yards marked the fifth time in the last six games the Cats have rushed for at least 200 yards. Not surprisingly, UK won all five of those games and lost the one (72 yards at Alabama) in which it failed to reach the 200 mark.
Let’s call them by name: Jon Toth, Bunchie Stallings, Nick Hayes, Kyle Meadows and Cole Mosier all started. Zach Myers, George Asafo-Adjei, Landon Young and Logan Stenberg also played. UK’s depth along its offensive line has helped fuel this sudden ground surge.
2. The turnovers have to stop -- but then we keep saying that
Those are Eddie Gran’s words, not mine. It is isn’t raining on anyone’s parade to point out that in one way UK has been fortunate in its recent run. Teams don’t normally lose the turnover battle and still win. This team is losing the turnover battle and still winning.
The Cats committed two turnovers in the first half on Saturday. Williams lost a fumble. Quarterback Stephen Johnson threw an interception. UK has now committed two turnovers in every game this season. And it has won five of those eight games.
“It’s unacceptable,” said Gran afterward. “Can’t happen.”
And despite those turnovers, Kentucky has now gained 500-or-more yards in back-to-back games against SEC opponents for the first time since 2001. In Guy Morriss’ first year, Kentucky gained 583 yards in a 56-30 win over Vanderbilt one week and 543 in a 38-35 loss to Tennessee the next. Last Saturday, UK gained 554 yards in the 40-38 win over Mississippi State. Saturday, it gained 582 in the 14-point win at Missouri.
3. Looking forward to what comes next
Georgia comes to town Saturday for a 7:30 p.m. game at Commonwealth Stadium. Mark Stoops’ UK teams have not been competitive with the Bulldogs, losing 59-17 in Athens in 2013; 63-31 in Lexington in 2014 and 27-3 at Georgia last season.
Watch video highlights from UK’s win at Mizzou
This is not the same Georgia team, however. The Bulldogs have a different head coach in Kirby Smart, the former Alabama defensive coordinator. They are also struggling. Saturday’s loss to Florida dropped the Dawgs to 4-4 overall and 2-4 in the SEC.
This isn’t to say that Stoops will get his first win over UGA, but this is certainly best chance. It’s also a chance to see a decent turnout at CWS. Surely, a fan base that has said “show me” was shown something Saturday bu UK’s performance in the “Show Me” state. I’m expecting Saturday to be the biggest home crowd of the season.
Kentucky’s 150-yard rushers since 2005
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