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They Kept It Close, but The Cats Didn’t Have Enough for the Upset

They Kept It Close, but The Cats Didn’t Have Enough for the Upset

 

Mark Zerof / USA Today

Mark Zerof / USA Today

This is what it feels like to be a part of big-time college football.

With the eyes of the world watching on CBS, a loud and full Commonwealth Stadium witnessed a Kentucky team that was good enough to beat the #1 team in the nation, but is still fighting to become a consistent threat in the SEC.  The defense made Dak Prescott look human, but allowed Josh Robinson to power through tackles like he was on fire (NFL Blitz-style).  Patrick Towles had the best game of his career, but nobody, I mean NOBODY could run the ball except him.

Losing always sucks, but this one sucked a little less.  Here’s why…

After getting embarrassed, the young Cats responded

Last week’s 41-3 loss would have crippled most Kentucky football teams, but this isn’t your typical Kentucky football team.  The slow starters showed some early spunk, despite falling behind.  After getting torched, the defense brought some big hits (I’m looking at you, Blake McClain).  There were a lot of times in this game where it looked like MSU was going to run away with it, but the team never quit, providing enough big plays to WOW the world.  If only there were a few more…

Patrick Towles outplayed Dak Prescott

Yeah, I said it.  The Heisman Trophy front runner was all but destined to destroy the Cats defense.  We’ve seen it happen so many times – Tebow, Cam Newton – it was inevitable the Cats were going to get crushed by the big man’s legs.  Instead, the defensive line played better than the preseason hype keeping Prescott contained for 90% of the game.  When Kentucky’s running game didn’t work, Towles made it work with his legs.  His 76 rushing yards are misleading because he was sacked 6 times.  The runs extended drives and kept the hope alive.

Through the air, Towles had his moments of inaccuracy.  They were definitely outweighed by his great moments.  The BBN saw three of the best throws of his career; one was a 55-yard completion to Timmons, one 58-yarder to Javess Blue in the seam, but his 3rd one in the end zone to Ryan Timmons on 4th down was broken up.  He finished with 390 passing yards (career-high), 76 rushing and 4 total touchdowns, accounting for all but 38 of the Cats 504 yards of offense.

Dak Prescott is great, but any person watching that game could see that he wasn’t as great as Patrick Towles.

Tip your hats to the DLine

The Kentucky defensive line showed America how to slow down the Heisman Trophy front-runner.  Bud Dupree and Za’Darius Smith played like mad-men, but still kept their composure for a disciplined pass rush.  Dak still managed 88 yards on the ground, but all but two were hard earned.  Every pass, option, and QB-designed run was met with a UK defensive lineman.  Every hit was punishment.  Bud finished with 10 tackles, Za’Darius with 8, while they combined for 4 tackles for loss and a pair of sacks.

The DLine’s biggest problem all year was playing too aggressive.  That may sound silly, but too many times they ditched their responsibility to make th ebig play, only to give up a big play.  Their play tonight proved to me that they can be coached up, only leaving more room for improvement in the future.

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As good as some of it was, there’s a reason why the BBN is collectively shaking its head.  Here are just a few…

Four times within seven, and the Cats couldn’t equalize

Every time the Cats had a chance to pull off the comeback, reality sank in.  Not once, not twice, but three times the Cats went 3-and-out with a chance to equalize.  The big plays that kept them in the game only seemed to happen when they were down 14.  I wish there was an easy answer, but somehow they could never keep the momentum to put the game within reach.

What in the hell happened in the run game?

uk rushing

Is Boom the only answer?  I have NO idea where to even begin with that box score.

On the other side of the ball, Kentucky once again let a power-back look like Walter Friggin’ Payton.  First it was Matt Jones, then it was Mike Davis, this time it was Josh Robinson.  Averaging 8.6 yards per carry, Robinson had 2 touchdowns and 198 yards.  Dan Mullen has done a great job coaching this year, but he deserves a couple smacks in the face for throwing it in the 4th quarter instead of letting Robinson do work every single play.

When the Cats will figure it out……your guess is as good as mine.

Four dropped passes in the Red Zone

They weren’t always THE play needed for the win, but all of them could have been caught and scored.  In a game where they could never get over the hump, just two of those balls caught could have given them the 14 points needed to get Kentucky over the hump.

That onside kick

Recovering an onside kick is probably the most difficult thing to do in football.  It’s understandable if the team doesn’t recover the kick, but to let the person run 40-yards for a touchdown?????  It was unfair for the game to end in the way it did.

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It wasn’t what we hoped for, but the Cats proved that Stoops wasn’t kidding when he said, “We’re just getting started, bro.”  The Cats are knocking on the door, it’s only a matter of time before they’re an important part of college football.


Rich Brooks, Matthew Mitchell and John Calipari at today’s game

@JDrumUK

Coach Mitchell and his extra medium jersey filled in for Jared Lorenzen on the field before the fourth quarter and he owned Commonwealth Stadium. Mitchell introduced Rich Brooks and John Calipari to the crowd before leading the ‘Blue/White’ chant throughout the stadium. The photo above shows the three coaches hanging out on the sideline before they took the field.

The UK Hoops Instagram account sent out a good shot of Mitchell rallying the troops too:


(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Stoops: “Our team is strong. They’re strong in the heart”

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Mark Stoops sounded disappointed but ultimately pleased with how his team battled back in their loss to #1 Mississippi State. “It is what it is,” Stoops told reporters. “We got beat by a better football team.” Stoops said he liked how hard the team played down the stretch and the effort they showed, but at the end of the day, to beat a team like Mississippi State, you have to play perfectly.

You have to admire the Cats’ heart, though. “Our team is strong,” Stoops vowed. “They’re strong in the heart. They’re strong in the mind.”

Weird to say after a loss, but I feel much better about our bowl chances than a week ago.


Mark Zerof / USA Today

Patrick Towles accounted for 466 yards of offense

Patrick Towles

Mark Zerof | US Presswire

Kentucky quarterback Patrick Towles had himself a game today. The sophomore threw for 390 yards and two touchdowns with zero interceptions, while adding another 76 yards and two scores on the ground. The 466 total yardage exceeded that of Dak Prescott, who accounted for 304 of Mississippi State’s yards. Heisman who?

After the game, Towles, though disappointed in the loss, told radio listeners he never doubted his team’s ability to compete with the nation’s best. “We know we can hang,” he said. “We know what we can do, but it’s nice for the country to see what we can do.”

Neal Brown said he was really excited by Towles’ level of play and he encouraged is by the entire offense. “We’re close,” said Brown.


This hit by Blake McClain, though…


It was another rough day for Naivar

UK’s special teams coach needs to turn that hat around next week, if there is a next week. It’s not a good look when you’re getting chewed out on the sideline.


Sometimes you gotta flop

Some nice acting from Patrick Towles earned Mississippi State an unnecessary roughness penalty following the Cats’ last touchdown and it put UK in great position for its onside kick attempt. We won’t get into how said onside kick went, but nice job by Towles to draw the flag.


Patrick Effing Towles, y’all

Patrick Effing Towles, y’all

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Patrick Towles did it all against Mississippi State. He passed for 390 yards, and two touchdowns, rushed for 76 yards and two touchdowns, and even caught a ball for 11 yards. Towles put up all but 27 of UK’s yardage today, a heroic feat that ultimately fell short. Here are some of his highlights…

He ran in touchdowns:

pattyfeet2

patTD2

He got in his teammates’ faces when they dropped passes:

towlesbone2

He put the Cats on his back and danced a little:

Even though the comeback fell short, kudos to Patrick Towles for one hell of a game.


Mississippi State 45, Kentucky 31 (Official Box Score)

Mississippi State 45, Kentucky 31 (Official Box Score)

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Good job, good effort by the Cats, but it’s not enough

Good job, good effort by the Cats, but it’s not enough

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The Cats gave it a good shot, but Mississippi State was just too much, overpowering the Cats at the end by a score of 45-31.

Patrick Towles turned in an unbelievable performance, with 477 total yards and four touchdowns. Towles did it all tonight, passing for 390 yards, rushing for 76, and even catching a pass for 11 yards. He accounted for all but 27 of UK’s yards against the Bulldogs. Wow.

More coverage throughout the evening…


A Passing Record Held by Jared Lorenzen is Snapped

The Hefty Lefty is one of the most prolific passers in SEC History, but today he has to take the backseat to Arkansas offensive lineman Sebastian Tretola.  The 350-pounder threw a beautiful touchdown pass to the long snapper on a trick play, making Tretola the largest man to throw a touchdown in the SEC.  I hope Arkansas doesn’t start running the Wildcat with THIS guy.

 

Take notes Jojo.


@UKcoachbrooks

A Surprise Visitor for Today’s Game?

@UKcoachbrooks

@UKcoachbrooks

As many of you already know, Coach Rich Brooks and Andre Woodson are back in town for a matchup against #1.  One of the most adored duos in Kentucky football history might not be the biggest names on the BBN’s radar.  Sources tell KSR that Toby Keith is also in Lexington for today’s game.  

Toby’s a Sooner at heart, but he shoulda been a Wildcat.

toby keith canterburylive


Here Comes the Catwalk

Here Comes the Catwalk

The skies were dark and gray until the Cats came to save the day.  With the sun shining bright, Ryan Lemond did an exceptional job of looking like a fool while interviewing PAtrick Towles.  Setting the goofiness aside, once again the BBN did not disappoint in giving the Cats the warmest of welcomes.

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Remember that time somebody pooped in the tuba?

Remember that time somebody pooped in the tuba?

I doubt CJ Johnson's Mother calls him by the 'poop' nickname.

I doubt CJ Johnson’s Mother calls him by the ‘poop’ nickname.

Rayn was poised with West, but couldn't keep Towles in front of him.

Rayn was poised with West, but couldn’t keep Towles in front of him.

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The Chrome Helmets Are Back

The chrome helmets worked out pretty well against South Carolina earlier this year so why not bring them back against the Bulldogs? The uniforms are going to be looking slick under the Lexington sun.


A Major Day For The Future At Commonwealth Stadium

When you have an opportunity to knock off the number one team in the country then you want all of your top recruits there to witness the moment.  The parents of this coaching staff certainly didn’t raise any fools and that is exactly what they are doing with just two home games left on the schedule. Just who are some of the visitors? Let’s take a look:

Class of 2015

Damien Harris will once again be visiting for his fifth game of the season. Harris has become a stalwart in the stands this season and the Cats are undefeated when has attended games in 2014. That’s the sort of mojo we need on campus. Commit CJ Conrad will also be visiting the Cats today for his official visit. Conrad has already submitted his financial aid papers and expects to enroll for next semester.

Ahmad Wagner ballin’

We told you yesterday about the visit of Pitt commit Davon Hamilton visiting today but there are two more committed men making the trip as well. Tyree Kinnel, a four-star safety currently pledged to Michigan, and 6-foot-7 receiver Ahmad Wagner who is committed to play basketball at Iowa. I wouldn’t wish four years of school in Iowa on my worst enemy. Wagner has become a football target as well this fall with his play on the field. Both guys attended high school with Dorian Hendrix and Vince Marrow is working hard to open the pipeline and flip these two to Kentucky.

Local Juniors

Kentucky has begun locking up the state’s highly touted junior class with commitments from McCracken County’s Zy’Aire Hughes, Henry Clay’s Davonte Robinson and Lafayette’s Landon Young. Today they’ll be looking to sway a couple more guys when they host Woodford County offensive lineman Drake Jackson and Ashland running back Quinton Baker.

Mark Stoops was in Woodford County last night to watch Jackson work and the talented center is back on campus for his third unofficial visit of the season. Drake previously attended the Ohio and South Carolina games.

Quinton Baker, the son of 80s Kentucky running back Al Baker, will be visiting for the third time this season as well. Baker is currently a four star recruit and the third ranked in-state player for 2014. He holds an offer from the Cats already and it’d be great to see the kid follow in his father’s footsteps.

Traveling Juniors

Messiah deWeaver is a four-star quarterback out of Ohio and one who committed to Michigan back in June. With Brady Hoke all but finished as coach of the Wolverines you have to wonder just how firm the commitment is. The coaching staff has taken over our neighbor to the North and deWeaver could be another top get from the Buckeye State. Time will tell.

Another all-name team candidate joining Messiah is three-star wide receiver Randrecous Davis from Georgia. So far it’s been Louisville and Kentucky duking it out for the kid’s services but Auburn, Clemson, and Florida have also shown interest. This is his first unofficial visit to the Bluegrass state.

 

Its a big day not just for the game being played but for the future as well. How well the Cats are able to hang with the Bulldogs could help sway a lot of guys to suit up in the blue and white for years to come.