The Cats returned to action this weekend in a game that was supposed to let the team show off their arsenal, but the game was not to plan. Kentucky ended up improving their record to 3-0 with a 28-23 sloppy win over the Mocs of Chattanooga, but the game was not pretty. Fans are hoping that this game is not what the Cats will show starting the core of their schedule this coming Saturday, September 25th.
Chris Rodriguez was not his usual self in the game Saturday as he only picked up 46 yards on 13 attempts. A big cause to the running struggles during the game was that the Big Blue Wall was not per-usual with their dominance. All credit is given to Chattanooga for their great defense during the game that helped keep them within striking distance on the Cats. Their defensive line was tearing through Kentucky’s offensive line. Kavosiey Smoke only put up 27 yards with 7 attempts as his season continues to not be as successful as last for the Junior. This game more than likely will be a fluke for the run game, but the team must step up starting next week at they face off with South Carolina.
Our passing game against the Mocs was average to say the least. Levis was not at his best as he has several passes not as crisp as the first two games of the season. He passed for 254 passing yards completing 23 of his 25 passes (66%). He added two touchdowns, as well as two interceptions to make the total 4 for the season. The two passing touchdowns went to the tight end Izayah Cummings and Isaiah Epps. Wan’Dale Robinson had another 100-yard receiving game as he racked up 111 yards on eight receptions. The mishaps from Levis killed the tempo of the offense, but the struggling line hurt the team in the long run.
Defensively, the Cats were fairly strong in their showcase. The offense and their turnovers made the score look worse, but the defense in the end saved the game. Carrington Valentine continued his strong showing as he led the team in tackles with seven. Nobody had a sack in the game but there was solid pressure throughout. The big play of the game came from Senior defensive back Tyrell Ajian. Ajian picked off a pass at our five-yard line and returned it for a 95-yard pick-six to solidify the win. If not for his heroics, we would potentially be discussing a major upset instead of a Kentucky win.
The win was no pretty Saturday, but ugly wins are natural for Kentucky in the Stoops era. It’ll always be in the win column and now the Cats enter the heart of SEC play. September 25th, the Cats will play South Carolina down in Columbia. Kentucky looks to come into this game with stronger play and improve the record to 4-0 before the big dogs. My predictions for the game will be Kentucky winning 35-21 in a good test with the Gamecocks. Our offensive star will be Chris Rodriguez Jr. due to South Carolina’s shaky run defense and our defensive star will be Louisville boy J.J. Weaver. GO CATS!
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Devin Hall is a columnist for MESPORTS digital. A University Louisville graduate who loves good music, good games and good times. He can be reached at DHall@maineventsports101.com. Follow him on Twitter @Mista_Hall25