Monday, December 28, 2009
Instant analysis: Clemson 21, Kentucky 13
By Chris Low
A quick look at Clemson’s 21-13 victory over Kentucky on Sunday in the Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl:
Kentucky quarterback Morgan Newton threw for only 98 yards and one touchdown.
How the game was won: Kentucky’s offense went belly-up after driving for a touchdown on its opening possession and managed just two field goals the rest of the way. The Wildcats had their chances and moved into Clemson territory a couple of different times in the second half, but were pretty unimaginative on offense and couldn’t get anything going in the passing game.
Turning point: With Clemson leading 14-13, Kentucky receiver Gene McCaskill lost a fumble at the Wildcats’ 19-yard line with 11:33 left in the fourth quarter. Three plays later, Clemson's C.J. Spiller scooted 8 yards for a touchdown to make it a 21-13 game.
Stat of the game: The Wildcats drove 61 yards for a touchdown on their first possession of the game. On their next eight possessions, they managed a total of 216 yards and no touchdowns.
Stat of the game II:Randall Cobb, one of the most feared all-purpose players in the SEC this season, was held to 56 total yards on 10 rushing attempts and two receptions.
What it means: Kentucky (7-6) failed in its attempt to win a fourth straight bowl game, which would have been a first for the Wildcats. They also had their 18-game non-conference winning streak snapped. The bigger picture is whether this was Rich Brooks’ final game at Kentucky.
Best call: Kentucky called for a fake punt with just under seven minutes remaining, and punter Ryan Tydlacka rambled 9 yards for the first down to the Clemson 34. But the Wildcats couldn’t capitalize and failed on their next fourth-down attempt.