It took a full quarter for the Kentucky Wildcats to break out offensively, but when they did, it was a sight to see.
With the score nodded at 3-3, the Akron Zips were creating a sense of frustration among the Wildcats fan base as well as the team’s head coach-Joker Phillips. That’s when Phillips laid it out on the line, gathering his team on the sidelines, challenging them to get their act together.
The speech worked wonders, as both the offense and defense began to notch up the intensity and take care of business.
Derrick led the way, having a record setting day by becoming just the seventh Wildcats player to rush for 2,000 yards in his career. Locke racked up a career-high 166 yards to go along with two dazzling touchdowns.
Kentucky quarterback Mike Hartline also had a field day passing the ball, going 21-of-29 for 250 yards and 2 touchdowns in one of the better performances of his career albeit against lesser competition. What was most impressive was Hartline’s ability to get his teammates involved. Hartline completed passes to nine different receivers on the day, with junior Randall Cobb being his go-to-guy with five receptions.
Cobb didn’t have a spectacular day—something out of the ordinary for the junior from Alcoa, Tennessee—as he was dealing with heartburn issues during the second half. Despite the setback, Cobb remains one of the more dangerous all-around players in the nation.
The ‘Cats defense was also impressive, allowing just 172 total yards—67 yards on the ground—compared to the 544 yards Kentucky racked up on the Zips.
Kentucky has now had three games to gear up for their next big test, which comes at the hands of the Florida Gators in Gainsville this Saturday.
Florida beat SEC East rival Tennessee 31-17, but the Gators have been anything less than stellar since the departure of Tim Tebow.
Kentucky on the other hand, has yet to face a team with such talent on both sides of the ball as well as dealing with the overall team speed that Florida is bound to display.
If the Wildcats are going to upset the Gators this Saturday, it will take an all-around effort from both the offense, defense, and head coaching staff to get it done.