The Kentucky football program has seen glimpses of greatness from wide receiver Jeff Badet. He finally put it all together against Missisippi State. Will it last?
The Kentucky football team couldn’t afford to lose to the Mississippi State Bulldogs. It was a home game against a below-.500 team that, like Kentucky, was hanging onto the shimmering hope of being able to play in a bowl game.
Thanks in large part to junior wide receiver Jeff Badet, the Wildcats are one win closer to ending the bowl drought.
Badet has earned a reputation as one of the most exciting playmakers in Lexington. He caught 51 passes for 715 yards and three touchdowns during his first two seasons at Kentucky, and is averaging upwards of 20 yards per reception in 2016.
It was against the Bulldogs of Mississippi State that Badet finally put it all together.
This is the performance that Kentucky has been looking for.
Badet finished with seven receptions for 139 yards and two touchdowns in a must-win game. He had explosive touchdown receptions of 44 and 40 yards—both of which he made exceptional plays on.
That includes an under-throw by Stephen Johnson, which Badet altered his route to pull down.
The question is: will it last?
Badet opened the 2016 college football season by taking a bubble screen to the house for a 72-yard touchdown. He had just one other reception during the Southern Miss game, however, and it wasn’t for a lack of trying to get open.
The Wildcats went away from Badet, which was a theme throughout the first six games of the season.
Badet had a 45-yard reception and a 25-yard run against Florida, but never got another touch. He tallied 89 receiving yards against New Mexico State, but accumulated just three receptions.
Overall, Badet is averaging 23.1 yards per reception. So why does he only have 17 receptions?
Badet is the type of player whom a team can use in any number of ways. His speed and quickness rank amongst the best in the country and his IQ is of the same caliber.
That was established against Mississippi State, when he made a game-saving decision.
That’s a heads-up play that not every player would make.
Badet may or may not be a star, but it’s clear that he can help Kentucky’s struggling passing attack. Rather than asking Stephen Johnson to consistently play against his strengths and throw downfield, the Wildcats must utilize the presence of dynamic playmakers.
As it pertains to the passing attack, one could argue that no Kentucky player is more dynamic than Badet.
His performance against Mississippi State could’ve been his breakout game.