Kentucky football: Wildcat defense freezes Penguins in long overdue shutout

Kavosiey Smoke of the Kentucky Wildcats (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Kavosiey Smoke of the Kentucky Wildcats (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
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The No. 9 ranked Kentucky football may have put up 31 points on offense but it was the Wildcat defense that put the chill on Youngstown State elevating the Wildcats to their first shutout win in 13 years 31-0 to stay unbeaten.

Kentucky (3-0, 1-0 in the SEC) for the third straight game struggled to get its offense out of first gear as the running game continues to be bogged down and the Big Blue Wall again could not protect quarterback Will Levis early on.

Head coach Mark Stoops was not too happy with the play and knows it has to improve which he addressed post-game .

"“You saw it, again, at times today. Just too much inconsistency. And that’s the bottom line, I think offensively, just inconsistent. So we’ll continue to work on it and address it. And I’m confident we will continue to improve and get it ironed out…It is aggravating to give up negative yardage plays consistently. We’ve got to get that fixed and run the ball downhill. There’s a big difference between second and eight or second and seven or second six or second and twelve or thirteen.”"

However, the Wildcat defense continues to shine this season, and not since the season opener in 2009 when it beat Miami of Ohio 42-0 had the defense held a team scoreless – until now. In fact, it is only the second Kentucky shutout since the 1970s.

Youngstown State only gained 192 yards of total offense, but 64 of those came on a screen pass in the third quarter. The Penguins only had nine first downs in the game with two coming on their final possession and three earned off UK penalties.

The Penguins tried to convert on 10 third down tries and failed on each as well as two fourth down tries.

Kentucky has now beaten Miami 37-13 and Florida 26-16 and with the win over Youngstown State has held each to under 300 yards of total offense a feat not done since 1989.

Can this team really compete to win the Southeastern Conference East? A lot of things have to go right and the offense needs a lot of work despite a lot of good things, but one thing is for certain this Brad White defense is talented, stingy, and making a name for themselves.

A few quick takeaways:

No. 1 -The running game is nowhere to be found without Rodriguez

Where oh where is the Kentucky football running game? Granted it’s solely not the fault of the runners themselves as they get very few holes to run through or blocking by the porous offensive line.

While they are missing one of the SEC’s premier backs in Chris Rodriguez until the Ole Miss game in two weeks the team has now played a team from the MAC, FCS, and Florida, and still looks like it can’t move the ball.

Through three games they have carried the ball 100 times for 223 total yards. It’s actually 351 but they have lost 128 meaning they average 2.2 yards a carry and just 74.3 total yards a game. That won’t get it in the SEC part of the schedule.

Kavosiey Smoke has gained 178 yards total on the year and La’Vell Wright is second with a mere 56 yards. Smoke carried 18 times against Youngstown State for 80 yards and Levis was the second leading rusher with 33 yards.