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Opponent Breakdown: Kentucky Offense

UK got to eight wins with smoke and mirrors on offense. Will they need that magic this week?

Middle Tennessee v Kentucky Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Kentucky is having one of their best seasons in the history of the program and they’re doing it with a very average offense. Eddie Gran is the first offensive coordinator to stick at Kentucky and he has probably held onto his job because the offense finally has an identity. They’re going to run the ball until you make them do something else. Gran has done well to mix up their run game but the lack of a passing attack has hurt them this year.

The passing game starts with Terry Wilson at quarterback. The JUCO transfer has had a very inconsistent year and he has been a turnover machine at times. Wilson is a dual threat guy with a big arm and breakaway speed. He is completing 67% of his passes but the offense really keeps things under 10 yards for him. Wilson also takes a lot of sacks because he holds on to the ball too long. Some of the issues he has are on him, but plenty of them are because he doesn’t have great receivers.

Benny Snell is the star of this offense with his bruising running ability. Snell has a ton of Kentucky rushing records already but he probably wants to lead this team to 10 wins. The offense does a great job of feeding Snell as he is the type of back that gets better as the game goes on. UK has also developed a second back to spell Snell. AJ Rose is averaging 5.6 yards per carry on the year and the offense has been at it’s best when he gets things going as the second option in the run game. It keeps Snell a little more fresh while also giving a bit of a change of pace.

The big issue with Kentucky’s offense is the receivers being well below average. One of the reasons that Terry Wilson has issues holding onto the ball is because these guys just don’t get open enough. Lynn Bowden has double the amount of targets than the next two guys on the team. They like to use him on screens and shallow routes, so those throws are typically open. Even Bowden doesn’t get open down the field, though. This team doesn’t have anyone that can stretch the field and every defense knows it. C.J. Conrad will be a guy to look out for this week as they like to target him over the middle and UofL’s linebackers have made a few plays in the passing game recently.

The Kentucky offensive line is arguably the best they will see outside of Alabama this season. They absolutely maul people in the run game and they give Wilson plenty of time to throw the ball. Bunchy Stallings is the best of the group at right guard. He is so quick off the ball and he drives people out of holes in the run game. He is also very good when he pulls. He identifies his block well and gets his hips turned to seal off on his man. This line does everything well but defenses get to stack the box and that makes their jobs much harder.