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Kentucky’s Next Challenge Is Stopping Ole Miss Offense

By LARRY VAUGHT

It didn’t take a lot of film study for Kentucky coach Mark Stoops to come away impressed with Missisisppi’s offense. 

“Ole Miss plays extremely fast on offense. Their quarterback (Matt Corral) is playing at a very, very high level, and can throw the ball all over the place,” Stoos said. 

“They have a very good scheme that spreads you out and puts a lot of pressure on you. They want to be balanced. Even though they threw the ball for almost 450 yards they still had balance, they still ran the ball quite a bit, and were efficient with those aggravating yards on the ground. 

“They run a lot of plays and put a lot of pressure on you so we have to be able to control that and play with a greater sense of urgency with the tempo because we’re going to see an extremely high pace.”

The Rebels lost 51-35 at Florida last week but amassed 613 yards. Corral, a sophomore, completed 22 of 31 passes for 395 yards and three touchdowns with just one interception and also ran for 50 of the Rebels’ 170 yards. Elijah Moore had 10 catches for 227 yards, the second most in Ole Miss history.

“I think he (Corral) did a good job with his feet, getting out of trouble. I think he was very composed, really good at adjusting with him on the sidelines,” Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin said. “His feet are a bit all over the place at times in the passing game. We’ve got to clean that up since he was late on some balls that were really open that ended up being completed that could have been touchdowns.”

How good was the offense? Florida has only given up more than 613 yards twice — 672 by Alabama in 2014 and 629 to Nebraska in the 1995 national championship game.

“We have to adapt to any situation. We all understand the recipe we like to play with to give us the best opportunity to win games but that’s certainly not foolproof. We have to adjust, have to adapt each and every week and do whatever is necessary to win football games. Certainly, starting this week it will be much different,” Stoops said.

Kentucky lost 29-13 at Auburn but Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin says UK is a “really good team” with veteran players.

“Guys played really well last year and lost the turnovers Saturday but did some really good things otherwise. We’re going to have to play really well and get better in areas we didn’t do well in. Obviously, defense and negative plays on offense,” Kiffin said.

“They’re very disciplined on defense, they don’t do a lot of things, but they know what they’re doing really well. Offensively they run the ball very well, veteran offensive line.”

Florida shredded the Ole Miss pass defense and Kiffin knows UK quarterback Terry Wilson will test the secondary again.

“Anytime you give up the numbers we gave up, it’s not just one area. We did not get very much rush and we did not cover well. That’s not a good combination,” Kiffin said. “You don’t break the SEC record for Florida, who’s had great offenses and then they have the most in the history of the school. There are not a lot of positives to find there. 

“We did almost stop them on a third down, but then we roughed the passer, so I was kind of excited there for a second.”

Larry Vaught
Larry Vaught is a seven-time winner of the Kentucky Sportswriter of the Year award and has covered University of Kentucky sports since 1975. Larry now has a syndicated UK sports column appearing in 34 newspapers across the state as well as http://www.yoursportsedge.com/, and http://www.cameronmillsradio.com/. Larry also joins Mark Buerger and Anthony White on WLAP Sunday Morning Sports each week in Lexington as well as appearing each Tuesday with Tom Leach on The Leach Report.

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