The Kentucky Wildcats‘ (1-1, 0-0) offense looks much, much better with Maxwell Smith at quarterback. He helped offensive coordinator Neal Brown’s “Air Raid” philosophy take flight with TD passes of 48 yards to Jonathan George, 88 to Javess Blue and 56 to Jeff Badet. In all, Smith completed 15-of-23 passes for 310 yards (210 by halftime) as Kentucky put up 675 total yards on Miami (OH) (0-2, 0-0).
The Wildcats’ defense also looked much better, yielding only 122 yards, eight first downs and no touchdowns. The RedHawks’ only score came on a fumbled punt return in the first quarter. In the first game, the Kentucky defense had given up three touchdowns in its opponent’s first four drives. And that number could have been worse had Western Kentucky (1-1, 0-0) not lost a fumble on two of its first five possessions.
There certainly was room for improvement all around after Week 1’s 35-26 loss, especially after a defense that was expected to be Kentucky’s strength allowed 487 yards. Several personnel changes followed last week and the Wildcats rebounded with a much needed win. But there’s no time for Mark Stoops and company to rest, as this week brings the toughest challenge of the year so far in No. 7 Louisville (2-0, 0-0).
What to look for in Week 3: Will the real Kentucky defense please stand up? Which identity will surface: The one that operated like a sieve in Week 1, or the one that clamped down in Week 2? The answer will go a long way in determining if the Cats have any shot at upsetting their in-state rival.