Thursday Night Recap. Football Season is Here at Last.

"...and there was much rejoicing."

Last night, the long college football off-season finally ended when Louisville kicked off to Murray State.  And there was much rejoicing.  But the real thrill was watching Memphis kick off the SEC season to Mississippi State, and then watching the Bulldogs drive it down the Tiger’s throats.  The Kentucky game was also a win for the SEC, but the two games were worlds apart.  All in all though, that makes it 2-0 for the SEC in non-conference games.

#20 Mississippi State @ Memphis                   59-14

Mississippi State controlled everything about this game from start to finish.  Not only did they make the big plays, but also did all the little things right.  MSU looked like a well-coached, disciplined team.  They were better on offense, defense, and special teams.

  • QB Chris Relf was 13 of 21 passing for 202 yards and 2 touchdowns.
  • RB Vick Ballard carried the ball 10 times for a career high 166 yards and 3 touchdowns.
  • Relf avg 9.8 yards a completion, and Ballard avg 16.6 yards a carry.
  • MSU had 405 total yards in the 1st half and finished the game with a school-record 645 total yards.
  • The Bulldog defense forced 3 turnovers, and 4 four-and-outs.
  • Memphis avg starting field position was their own 20.

Between the defense shutting down the Tiger offense, the special teams pinning them deep, and Relf and Ballard averaging nearly a first down a play, the game was never in question.  Granted, Memphis is not the same quality opponent that the ‘Dawgs will see later this season, but you have to start somewhere.  And the Bulldogs are off to one hell of a start.  Kentucky on the other hand…

Kentucky vs. Memphis @ LP Field                        14-3

Kentucky looked just about as bad as team could and still come out with a win.  The Wildcats put up a measly 190 total yards, and were only 3 for 13 on 3rd down attempts.  Morgan Newton looked lost.  He threw 3 interceptions, and for the most part his passes were either way off the mark or dropped by his receiver.  The one thing they can take from this game, besides a “W” is that there is a whole lot of room for improvement.

  • The Wildcats managed only 11 first downs, but 3 of those were by penalties on WKU (12 for 120 yards total).
  • Drives ended in, punts (7), interceptions (3), and touchdowns (2).
  • One TD drive was only 22 yards, set up by an interception.

And that is really all the stats you need to know.  The defense did not really win the game either.  Western held themselves to 3 points by even worse play than UK showed.  Kentucky does have untested starters at all but one skill position on offense so I guess some growing pains are to be expected.  Hopefully they can come together or it will be a long season for the Cats.

-Jeff

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