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The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly From Week One

Updated: Sep 7

The long-awaited return of Kentucky football has now come and gone. As one may expect, there was a lot of rust. Mark Stoops took it a step further calling it "the most disappointed" he's been with a performance given the margin of victory. Given what I have seen on social media following the game, it seems as if many agree with Stoops on this. With that, we all know that when Monday comes and the team looks at film, it won't be as good as anybody thought, but it won't be as bad as some think either. Lets look at what went right and wrong on Saturday.

The Good

Outside of the two scoring drives, the Kentucky defense looked to be in a really good place. We had an opportunity to see them shine in some situations that will certainly arise again throughout the season. The most important of those being the goal-line stand that was made to keep the Cardinals at 14 points. What stood out the most to me was the havoc plays being made all over the field. The Wildcats got to the quarterback three times and had eight tackles for loss as a group. Brad White's guys also forced two fumbles, one of which was returned for a touchdown (should have been two, thanks SEC). There was plenty to build on after their performance yesterday.

Another side note in this section, how about the special teams unit? Alex Raynor hit all three of his field goals and Barion Brown took a kickoff return to the house. For the first time since game one of last year, the Wildcats made routine look routine on special teams.

The Bad

Devin Leary had not played a football game in nearly a year coming into yesterday and it showed. There were moments where we saw why the hype was there, including his first big completion to Dane Key, but there was certainly some rust as well. The interception late in the first half looked more like a miscommunication than a forced ball to me, but one of his strengths is supposed to be protecting the football. Furthermore, he missed some easy passes in the flat that would have resulted in big plays and was unable to connect on any vertical shots downfield. This probably should have been expected given the nature of his injury and how long its been since he's been at game speed, but I'd be lying if I did not say that his performance was slightly underwhelming.

The Ugly

The worst possible thing that could happen to Kentucky may have happened against Ball State. Team captain and super senior guard, Kenneth Horsey, went down with what looked like a serious knee injury in the first half. Mark Stoops announced on Monday that this would not be a season-ending injury as many thought it would be, but that he will be "out for a few weeks" rehabbing the injury and getting back to full strength. Some silver lining in this is that Dylan Ray played really well in his place. The offensive line was the major question entering this season and it hurts not to have Horsey for the entire season as he'll miss the majority of the first half.

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