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Kentucky's Defense Comes Through Again

Updated: Sep 17, 2022

I'm sure you've already heard by now, but Brad White's guys earned their first shutout victory of the season, as well as Mark Stoops first of his head coaching career, in addition to being the first time since 2009 for the Kentucky football program.

Defensive Coordinator Brad White said he was really proud of his group today and that they have accomplished something that they've been trying to do for five years, after almost shutting out Mississippi State in 2017.

Brad said his upperclassmen were so excited heading into the final drive of the game, knowing what was on the verge of happening, and that they were putting in maximum effort to make sure it actually did through the final minutes.

Through the first three games, the defense has definitely outplayed the offense. Not that we have to necessarily compare the two, but its clear which side has been leading the way and picking up the slack when needed. The defense played a big role against Miami, forced the win down in Gainesville and was arguably perfect in shutting out the Youngstown State Penguins today.

A solid defense that we are accustomed to now streaks off a foundation that was implemented many years ago, when Brad White was first hired. Recruiting top talent, adjusting and moving players where needed and now busting shoulders, as one of the best defensive lines in college football has this team pretty comfortable in the point protection.

Here are some eye-opening stats, with some dating back before this season, that go to show just how well Brad White has built his department on that side of the ball.

  • Kentucky held Youngstown State to no points, marking its first shutout since limiting Miami (Ohio) to no points at a neutral-site game in Cincinnati, Ohio, on Sept. 5, 2009 (42-0).

  • It marked Kentucky’s first shutout at home since holding Vanderbilt to no points on Nov. 16, 1996 (25-0) and first shutout since the facility was named Kroger Field in 2015.

  • It was UK’s largest margin of victory in a home shutout since a 35-0 win over Kent State in 1993.

  • UK has limited its last seven opponents to 21 or fewer points, its longest streak since doing so eight straight games to open the 2018 season.

  • UK has allowed 30 or fewer points in 49 of the last 55 games.

  • UK has allowed 29 points so far this season, fewest in the first three games since 2008 (19 in the first three games).

  • The Wildcats held the Penguins scoreless in the first half, marking the first time Kentucky has garnered a first-half shutout since LSU on Oct. 9, 2021.

  • The UK defense kept YSU without a first down until 5:31 remaining in the second quarter.

  • UK has held its opponents scoreless for six straight quarters for the first time since 2019 – last three quarters at Vanderbilt and first three quarters vs. UT Martin.

  • Kentucky held its opponent to under 200 yards of total offense (192 yards) for the first time since doing so in the season opener against ULM on Sept. 4, 2021.

  • It is the second time in the defensive coordinator Brad White era (2019-present) and the fourth time in the Coach Stoops era (2013-present).

  • This is the first time UK has held its first three opponents under 300 yards since the first three games of 1989.

  • UK has held its first three opponents to 761 this season, fewest in the first three games since 2008 (752 in first three games).

  • UK limited YSU to nine first downs, fewest since Vanderbilt had eight in 2014.

  • YSU was 0-of-10 on third-down conversions, the first time UK had accomplished that feat since holding Georgia to 0-of-10 in 2005.

  • UK has limited each of the last two opponents under 50 percent completions, first time in back-to-back games since 2018 (Florida and Murray State).

That is absolutely ridiculous, if you ask me. I think we need to enjoy what we have this season because, unfortunately, Brad White has a head coaching job coming his way in the very near future.


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