Last week, the Wildcats couldn't stop Anthony Dixon and the Mississippi State offense, which generated 493 yards, 348 coming on the ground.
This week, it was a different story. Kentucky held Eastern to 264 yards, including 127 yards rushing. It was a game the Cats needed headed into the final three weeks of the season.
Maxwell said positioning on the defensive side of the ball was a factor in the outcome.
"It's just a matter of being in the right position," Maxwell said. "Coach told us the plays are going to come and when they come, you've just got to make it."
Maxwell was in on a big play for the hosts that put the Colonels away in the third quarter. His interception set up Morgan Newton's 18-yard touchdown pass to Chris Matthews that put the game out of reach.
It was a big play the team had been lacking in the past two games. Maxwell was glad the defense found a breakthrough.
"I have an ability to make plays, but we have a lot of guys who have an ability to make plays. … those game-changing plays and that's what makes us such a good team. At any moment, any guy can shoot through and make a play. We have a lot of guys who can make plays like that happen. I feel like that's a good thing for the defense."
Kentucky football coach Rich Brooks wasn't surprised by Maxwell's pick — his fourth of the season.
"Sam is probably one of the most underrated players on our team, let alone in this league," he said. "He's got a nose for the football and all he does is make plays. He's an outstanding player."
The defense will need a repeat performance at Vanderbilt next week, and will need to stop the run. The Commodores rushed for 213 yards in last year's 31-24 win over the Wildcats.
"They hit us with their quarterback-run game and found something that was our weakness at the time," Maxwell said. "This week, we'll study the game film from last week and build on that and make some adjustments."