Kentucky Football: 5 things to successfully take down the hated Vols

Tennessee quarterback Jarrett Guarantano is sacked by Kentucky linebacker Jordan Wright
Tennessee quarterback Jarrett Guarantano is sacked by Kentucky linebacker Jordan Wright /
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Kentucky football
Kentucky running back Chris Rodriguez Jr. (Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports) /

Back to basics and feeding Chris Rodriguez the ball over and over

Something happened at the end of Kentucky’s successful unbeaten streak of 6 straight wins, Chris Rodriguez stopped getting the ball and yards and then the fumbles returned.

That went away from the core of Kentucky football of establishing a running game.

It also led to the demise of the passing game as well. No rushing yards meant Will Levis took to the air looking to force balls to Josh Ali and Wan’Dale Robinson.

Robinson transferred to Kentucky to be the star and he was when the Wildcat offense was balanced between the run and passing game. Mixing it up meant defenses couldn’t key on him or Ali. When it became one-dimensional big bang chunk plays to Robinson also disappeared.

According to UK Athletics cumulative stats in UK’s first six games, he carried it 120 times for 768 yards. Against Georgia, it was just 7 times for 7 yards and 8 carries for 34 yards against Mississippi State. There was something obviously wrong but Stoops has been tight-lipped.

"“Chris (Rodriguez) was dealing with an issue. It was not the wrist last week. I’m not going to sit up here and talk about everything. These young men go through a lot and they go through a lot of practices and do a lot of hitting and things happen throughout the week. So, he was dealing with an issue last week, yes. I don’t need to make excuses for Chris, but he was not at full strength.” as to what it is."

C-Rod needs the ball in his hands close to 20 times a game to run over and through defenses which is what he does best. 15 carries combined has led to 2 losses. There was also the UT Chattanooga game where he had just 13 carries for 46 yards and the Cats escaped with a 28-23 win.

The Vols season stats show they allow 144.4 yards rushing a game which means there are holes to be had and the Big Blue Wall needs to open those up.

When the 5-foot-11 224-pound junior runs and runs he gets angry and defenses suffer. Kentucky must get back to this. C-Rod will get his yards and the receivers won’t have blanked coverage on them.