Breaking Bad: UK better in week 2, but D-line needs work



By Cody Porter

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UK football looked as if it ventured to a parallel universe Saturday night.

Aaron Boyd led receivers with 11 receptions for 100 yards, the Cats had a quarterback complete 30 passes, a running back rushed for more than 100 yards and the Cats won by 33 points.

Did you ever expect to see some of those things, let alone in the same night?

But, there was still the whole inability to slow the run by the Cats’ defense, which again allowed more than 200 rushing yards, nearly 100 apiece by separate running backs.

1. Defensive Line

Kent State running backs Traylon Durham and Dri Archer nearly replicated Louisville’s performance from the prior week against the Cats men in the trenches. While the second half wasn’t as rough for them, the Golden Flashes rushers combined for 173 yards on 24 carries. That’s a little more than seven yards per carry. No school in the Mid-American Conference should put those numbers on a school in the Southeastern Conference. Yet it happened again, a week after the Big East did more. Reports surfaced Monday that tension in the locker room arose because head coach Joker Phillips was displeased with some of the schemes and players used by defensive coordinator Rick Minter. Phillips appears to be in the right, if that was the case. The Cats can’t continue on the trek their defense is on or the offense will begin to turn lackluster, at best.

2. Secondary

UK’s secondary didn’t allow the numbers to be put up like it did in week one, but Kent State’s senior quarterback Spencer Keith did find who he wanted, when he wanted. Fortunately for UK, Kent State’s receivers had a case of the butterfingers at times. SEC receivers don’t, though. They’re pretty well immune to such a sickness. Despite his own receivers’ issues, Keith completed 28 of his 43 attempted passes for 227 yards. The story is to be told whether or not the younger defensive backs will help the situation, but for the coming weeks, go under the assumption it’s unlikely.

3. Kicking

Senior kicker Craig McIntosh missed on two opportunities all of last season. So far this season, McIntosh has missed on two of his three chances. While the Louisville game was already out of range for a win, and his miss was questionable, it’s a potential confidence killer after having missed the amount of kicks he has this season, many from distances he was thought to be a lock to make from. Given its offensive improvement, UK could find itself in the situation of playing a formidable foe and requiring the leg of McIntosh to propel the Cats to an upset.