The LSU Tigers continued the theme of "Blowout Saturday" with a thorough domination of the Kentucky Wildcats on Saturday night. The Wildcats had several bone-headed special teams miscues in the first half, and LSU proceeded to make them pay for it to contribute to a 27-3 halftime lead. The second half, though, was a complete LSU domination. The Tigers offense scored an easy touchdown on its first possession in the second half, and essentially the game was over less than five minutes into the third quarter. It's back to the drawing board for the 5-2 Wildcats; meanwhile, LSU has momentum heading into the meat of their schedule.
LSU's season has not met the expectations of many coming into tonight, but they easily disposed of a 5-1 Kentucky team that had played decent football this season. Heading into the game, it appeared as if LSU would have their way running the ball against UK's front seven, and as the game progressed, they did just that. LSU ended up rushing for 303 yards after tallying just 77 yards in the first half. That's the most rushing yards against a UK defense led by Mark Stoops. Despite several strong offensive performances, Terrence Magee should be the MVP, as he went for 220 total yards in three quarters. Anthony Jennings had a solid game throwing for 120 yards and going 7-of-14. Notably, he converted several third-and-longs when the game was still semi-competitive in the first half. He also rushed for 40 yards.
LSU's defense was equally exceptional. Heading into tonight's game, UK's offense had averaged 37 points and over 400 yards of total offense per game. In the first half, UK's offense produced 131 yards and eight first downs, but LSU's defense adjusted at halftime and went on to limit the Wildcat offense to 86 total yards in the second half. It wasn't until garbage time that UK got most of those yards, but even then, LSU did not make it easy.
There aren't many positive takeaways for UK. The defense played pretty well in the first half despite LSU's advantageous field position. The secondary also collected its 12th interception of the season, and that's pretty much it. Things don't get easier for UK, as top-ranked Mississippi State travels to Lexington next Saturday. This week may be Mark Stoops' biggest coaching challenge in Lexington. He'll have to simultaneously lift the confidence of his young team, while also preparing for the Bulldogs, if he wants to avoid back-to-back blowouts. UK has winnable games on the back end of the schedule, and a focused team with high morale is imperative to become bowl-eligible.
LSU, along with Alabama, appears to be playing much better than a few weeks ago. They have many young, talented players and perhaps all they needed was some more game experience to rise to expectations.