Saturday, January 8, 2011
Instant analysis: Pitt 27, Kentucky 10
By Chris Low
Pittsburgh took control early and pulled away from Kentucky for a 27-10 victory Saturday in the BBVA Compass Bowl.
Here's an instant analysis of the game:
How the game was won: Kentucky committed two huge special teams blunders and never got going offensively, often times doing things to kill drives, and Pittsburgh handed Kentucky its worst loss in 15 bowl appearances. The Panthers jumped out to a 20-3 lead in the early minutes of the third quarter and were never really threatened again. Kentucky couldn't stop Pittsburgh's running game. The Panthers finished with 261 rushing yards and averaged 5.7 yards per carry.
Turning point: Kentucky was trailing 6-3 late in the second quarter when Ryan Tydlacka had his punt blocked by Pitt's Adam Taglianetti. The Panthers recovered on the Wildcats' 10-yard line and went ahead 13-3 on Tino Sunseri's 1-yard touchdown run with 34 seconds to play in the half. Kentucky never really recovered from what was the first of two special teams breakdowns. The Wildcats also botched a fake punt attempt early in the third quarter, leading to another Pitt touchdown.
Star of the game: Randall Cobb, playing in what might have been his final game in a Kentucky uniform, finished with 204 all-purpose yards.
Record performance: Cobb broke Darren McFadden's SEC single-season record for all-purpose yardage, finishing the season with 2,396 yards. McFadden had 2,310 all-purpose yards in 2007.
Stat of the game: Kentucky finished with just 104 rushing yards.
What it means: The Wildcats (6-7) suffered through their first losing season since 2005, putting the wraps on what was an extremely disappointing end to the season. The comeback win over South Carolina was the high point, but there wasn't much to cheer about after that. Losing quarterback Mike Hartline to the suspension was a killer, and his replacement, Morgan Newton, had trouble getting anything going consistently Saturday against the Panthers. If Cobb does decide to turn pro, Joker Phillips faces what will be a significant rebuilding job next season.